Saturday, November 06, 2004

How we feel when we are alone in the booth

Let me first say that I don't confuse "morality" with "religion." I was responding to Doug's idea of a "shell" not Lakoff-a-la-Rossi's notion of moral "values." I agree with Lakoff that we need to make Democrats feel proud of their values and that we should frame our objectives as moral and our opponents as immoral.

The way I see it, Republicans are motivated to vote by a feeling that they are doing "the right thing." To win votes we have to appreciate what a voter wants to feel when he or she goes through the action of voting. Inside the booth a voter wants to feel sure they are making a difference, that their vote will make the world better. The Bush campaign understood this fact very well. They attacked Kerry as a flip-flopper to build uncertainty in voters hearts and they stuck to a simple moral message that they knew would resonnate with their core voters. The vast majority of Bush voters went to the polls thinking, "I am going to cast my vote to end the terrible practice of abortion and kill those terrible Arabs." Their act of voting gave them a sense of moral clarity and inner peace. They didn't have any doubts because their candidate never entertained any doubts. Of course intelligent Kerry supporters had a similar sense of moral certainty, but they were in the minority. Most meat and potatoes Democrats had doubts about his moral certainty and were filled with a coresponding uncertainty about their choice that undermined their feeling of "making a difference." They didn't get the same high from the act of voting for Kerry that Bush supporters got from voting for their man - as a result they were not as effectively conditioned to vote for Democrats in the future.

Of course, the only solution is to make a strong moral arguement our policies. Edwards did this very well. He talked in simple terms about the elitist ideals of the Republican party. However, we still don't have a response to "Guns, Gays and God." The two issues that lost Ohio were Gays and Partial Birth Abortion in that order. I don't believe we can change anyone's beliefs on these issues in the short term. It is silly to think so. Instead, we need to enforce a stronger party discipline and attack on other fronts. Gays will have to be happy with civil union in most states for the time being while we work to get back in power. We have to try to make abortion unnecessary through research into better contraceptives and better sex education. We are losing a great number of votes by being the pro-gay abortionists' party. That doesn't sell well anywhere except in the blue states. I know for a fact it didn't sell well in Ohio.

Before anyone jumps down my throat, let me say I am a gay abortionist. At least that's what I'll tell the Army when they try to draft me. Seriously, I want full rights for gays and government abortions for everyone. However, I also want to win back power.

5 Thoughts:

Blogger pawlr said...

Andrew--I agree.. although we will have to anticipate the abortion/anti-gay response to our efforts to frame our policies in terms of our morality. The practical situation right now, as you rightly point out, is that Guns, God, and Gays are Rove's trump cards, so these will be the first cards they play when we start to build real moral strength again. If we don't address those questions head on in the context of our morality, we will be fighting with one hand behind our back.

One option I have read on other boards is to take the position that the State should not be involved in marraiges at all, that Marriage should be restricted to a purely Religious institution. The State would only perform civil unions for any couple, hetero- or homo-. "Marriages" in the spiritual sense of the word would be confined to religious institutions.

Tax law, and all other attendant rights now granted to couples would be transferred to all joined in civil union. Marraige would be a purely restricted to a couple's shared relationship to God.

The abortion question strikes me as a lot more difficult. I think there are ample ways Democrats can frame the debate to claim credit for the drop in abortions nationwide (I heard Mass. has lowest number of abortions, is this true?). Also focus on prevention of abortion as more effective than outlawing it--since we know that abortions will still take place on a black market.

Saturday, November 06, 2004 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Andrew---I agree on the gay issue; I know what you mean. We liberals have to be savvier. I do think you're right about Edwards, but a bit of Christianization of these morals can't hurt, and will likely help.

Abortion is the kicker, but I think you have the right idea on that one, along with Paul's clever spin on it. I do think if we focus attention on lowering the number of abortions, that may win over voters.

Or, we might all be fucked because "voting" as such doesn't exist anymore with these touch screens.

In any event, I'm glad to hear you finally admit that you're gay. I accept you.

Saturday, November 06, 2004 1:30:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Andrew, I realize I compeltely misunderstood the title to your post. You weren't talking about the voting booth, you were talking about those booths near the Port Authority.

I get you now. :)

Saturday, November 06, 2004 1:33:00 PM  
Blogger Demotiki said...

I am glad that Doug accepts me instead of casting me off like a used Clenex in a dark Port Authority viewing booth.

Abortion is the kicker. I have also thought of the spin Paul has brought up. It was used years ago when this struggle first began. It's related to the coat-hanger argument that abortions will always happen and that regulation and legitimization allows better education, care and birth control. Many people have a perfectly legitimate (although fruity) belief that life begins at conception. We need a line on this issue that doesn't rule them out and let's them feel like it's not a sin to vote Democratic. I am not sure that Kerry's approach was strong enough. Help me out here if you have any ideas.

Saturday, November 06, 2004 3:12:00 PM  
Blogger Demotiki said...


I agree that supporting the Edward's argument with Bible quotes might be very helpful indeed. After all, the Bible is clearly in our favor. Let the Democratic party point out that it is the party of the meek who don't want to wait anymore.


Saturday, November 06, 2004 3:15:00 PM  

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