Republicans Wish Their Agenda Was As Popular As The Democrats'
Conservative Ideas Are Loser Ideas
It's hard to think of a conservative policy position that is truly popular and that resonates for any length of time with the American public. We've seen the back to back to back to back losses for the anti-choice position in a string of states since the right killed Roe, and it's very clear that cutting benefits like Medicare and Obamacare are unpopular as hell.
And I still think George W. Bush's rear end is still burning from his spectacularly unpopular post-reelection campaign to privatize social security.
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Even when notions backed by Republicans attract mass support, it's hard to argue how conservative the idea truly is and it doesn't last very long. For instance, the public support for the invasion and occupation of Iraq quickly eroded as American body bags were flown stateside and considering the Democratic-led conflicts in World War II and Vietnam, it isn't quite the same as trickle down economics on the ideological scale.
Despite this, Republicans govern and campaign like their ideas have popular support and the mainstream media parrots this false world view. Banning abortion is unpopular but the state of the nation is still described as "narrowly divided."
Meanwhile, center-left to progressive policies are very popular. In addition to abortion rights, the public backs Social Security, Medicare, school lunches, the very concept of government oversight and regulation of polluters, the environment, and basic safety. Even on guns, supposedly an area of strength for the right, the public backs Democratic notions. Because while they support the Second Amendment right to bear arms, very few people back the GOP/NRA position of no background checks or other commonsense regulation of these deadly weapons.
Republicans wish they could openly campaign on cutting taxes for Elon Musk and Kanye West with the same fervor Democrats run in favor of Social Security.
But this fertile ground for Democrats raises the question of why the party's leaders and candidates so often work from a defensive crouch. Democrats are cautious to a fault, operating as if every election is just a few steps away from a 1984 or 1994 style wipeout.
This leads to a culture where Democrats are generally unwilling to come out on the side of a topic until it clears arbitrary thresholds of support in focus groups and opinion polls. And sometimes not even then.
This is an area of clear political advantage and in a world where contrasts significantly matter, distinctions need to be made.
Instead of operating out of fear, giving lip service to conservative ideas as if they had popular support, fortune favors the bold. Language used by Democrats should reflect this.
For instance, in the case of abortion, the Republican position – banning it in all instances, even in cases of rape and incest – is toxic. Democrats don't need to acknowledge this world view as legitimate because the public doesn't see it that way.
They instead need to say the right's position is bad and operate from a rhetorical stance of being in the right. And it's popular!
This shouldn't need to be said because it is logical and obvious, but the history of the Democratic Party, combined with the duplicity of the Republican Party and the mainstream press, shows that it needs to be repeated over and over.
Just think about a world where voters supported Republican ideas the way they support Democratic ones, and how vehemently the right would back voting rights and easy access to polling places. Republicans would not ever shut up if the public supported killing Medicare, so Democrats should bring that same energy to public support for the benefit program.
Act like the public is behind you, because it is. It is just as easy as it looks.
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A few weeks ago we got a visit from Nori, my friend’s shih tzu. Kal acts jealous for my attention when Nori is around, but he also likes playing with a buddy close to his size.