Democrats Have To Stop Speaking To Voters In Riddles
This Town Needs An Enema
The story of what happened to abortion rights is a simple and tragic tale. Republicans installed the current
5-4 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court that overturned Roe vs. Wade. Republican-led legislatures passed trigger laws and more recent legislation that has outlawed or severely curtailed access to abortion. The result has made life hell for Americans and the backlash has already hurt the Republican Party.
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But here’s how this was described in a post on Vice President Kamala Harris’ campaign social media account: “The majority of Americans agree that the government should not be telling a woman what to do with her body. Whenever reproductive freedom was on the ballot—California to Kansas and Ohio to Virginia—the voters voted in favor of freedom. We’ll do it again in 2024.”
This message strips all the urgency and immediacy from an issue that is arguably the single most important topic in American politics. Who leads the government overreach that the Vice President is referring to? She doesn’t say. Which of the two parties is the one on the side of the American majority and has made concrete legislative action to protect abortion rights? She also doesn’t say.
The result of this is less of a political message and more like one of those riddles that the Riddler leaves behind for Batman to figure out. “Riddle me this, Batman, who took away abortion rights?”
This isn’t about the Vice President specifically but it’s a recent and sterling example of the type of communication that is all too common coming from Democrats. I would argue that even on her official government accounts that Harris would be well within reason to call out Republican abortion bans, but its even more indefensible for her to do so on an explicitly political account.
Whose tender sensibilities are being catered to here? Who is the mysterious person who will take offense and umbrage if Democrats are accurately calling out the Republicans? This mythical voter doesn’t exist, not even if one stretched the animation to well past its breaking point.
Democrats unfortunately love to get “cute” with their political communications. For years Democrats would use Twitter (before its takeover by white supremacist Elon Musk) for messages like this: “Abortion is health care. Pass it on.” Statements like this confirm the smugness of the MSNBC watching crowd but they fail to light a fire under voters’ rear ends, which is the ultimate goal of a political message.
As I’ve previously written, this isn’t rocket science. The way to speak to voters is simple and the right has been extraordinarily effective at doing so for decades. Name a problem, connect it to Republicans, name a solution, connect it to Democrats. That’s it.
This way of speaking is far preferable to leaving cryptic notes behind in the hopes that Batman, in the guise of the voting public, can figure out another Riddler-style head scratcher.
My point of view on this is that Democratic leaders, strategists, and the like believe that it can’t be that easy. They over think these things and seek out a solution that looks like a math equation spread out among a dozen chalkboards, when the answer all along was as simple as the hammer used to construct those boards.
But the push and pull that motivates voters, even if the underlying issues are complex and require advanced learning and experience to address, is a simple thing. Despite the left’s most fervent wishes, voters aren’t cautiously studying issues and weighing the pros and cons before making a vote. Instead, feelings rule the day, and they will vote for what their gut tells them they should do.
Abortion is one of the most “gut” related topics out there. Because of their extremism, Republicans are being forced to thread the needle in a desperate attempt to wiggle out of their key role in restricting women’s rights. So far, this hasn’t worked. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin put his political capital behind an abortion ban masquerading as a “moderate” restriction. It was the kind of poll-tested wonky thing more often associated with Democrats than Republicans. And instead of getting down into the wonky weeds to debate what “is” and “isn’t“ an abortion restriction, the Democrats in Virginia mostly ran on the notion that abortion bans are bad and Republicans are pushing them.
The Democrats won on that message, as did many Democratic candidates up for election in the 2022 cycle. Losing Roe is a disaster, and the fallout will do irreparable harm to millions, but it also gave the party a silver bullet for vanquishing its extremist political enemy.
That’s an advantage you would be foolish to give away and keeping intensity pegged at the highest possible level is the best bet to restore those rights.
Just keep it simple and clear. There’s no time for Riddles. Leave those for Batman to figure out on his next adventure.
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Exclusive Kal-El Photo
I went out of town for Christmas and I had to leave Kal behind. This was him on the day I came back, I think he was pretty happy to see me. I was super happy to see him too.