Skip to comments.Coloring by the Numbers (The Blue and the Red, part 2)
Posted on 04/06/2005 5:58:36 PM PDT by Chris_Shugart
Coloring by the Numbers
The Blue and the Red, part 2
By Chris Shugart, Mar 31, 2005
I can't recall a time when Democrats got so many things so wrong. The DNC 2004 election cycle was a series of miscalculations and faulty assessments that caught them flat-footed; like unsuspecting creatures frozen in the headlights, leaving them flattened like so much political road kill. And then their wild explanations for how and why they lost only confirmed just how clueless they were.
One of their earliest explanations was also one of the most foolish. Liberal analysts jumped to the flimsy conclusion that people who voted for Bush just didn't have the good sense to know what was good for them. DNC apologists might have been better advised to take a look at some very easy to access statistical numbers that anyone could have gotten from the U.S. Census Bureau.
According to 1994 Census figures, roughly 50 percent of registered Republicans finished college, compared to the approximately 43 percent of Democrats. In light of the "stupid Republicans" theory, those kind of figures might suggest that liberals prefer to react with knee-jerk opinions based on their blue-state prejudices, rather than simply do their homework beforehand.
CNN conducted a fairly extensive exit poll that might have some bearing on the supposed intelligence gap between the red and blue states. John Kerry got 63% of the votes from people with income less than $15,000, and 57% of those with incomes of $15-30,000. If those are the smart voters, please call me stupid. Voters who made $50,000 or more favored Bush 55%. Those with incomes of $100,000 or more favored Bush 58%. While Democrats would no doubt prefer to spin these numbers as evidence that Republicans are the party of the rich, it brings to mind a variation of a popular saying: If they're so rich, how can they be so stupid?
While Democrats finally acknowledged that moral values played an important role in the 2004 election, they initially sneered at what they saw was nothing more than a fringe constituency of narrow-minded voters obsessed with a theocratic agenda engineered by the Religious Right. Again, the Dems got it wrong, and the numbers show it.
The same CNN poll illustrates one of the most telling demographic distinctions of the survey. Married voters voted for Bush over Kerry 57% to 42%. Voters who were married with children voted for Bush over Kerry 59% to 40%. Right here are your so called "values voters." They happen to be ordinary Americans who understandably want their families to thrive in a morally healthy environment. But instead of appealing to these family oriented voters, Democrats misread this group as an insignificant rabble of voters driven exclusively by religious convictions.
Another area in which Democrats have been grossly mistaken has been their wildly distorted assessment of average Americans. Democrat elites attack Wal-Mart, big trucks and SUVs, and then wonder why middle Americans who love Wal-Mart, big trucks and SUVs won't vote for them. The day after the Presidential election, Peter Beinart of The New Republic described Republicans as "craven toward the economically powerful and vicious toward the economically weak." It that represents the Democrat's concept of red state thinking, it's no wonder that ordinary voters aren't taking them seriously.
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof provided his own out of touch observation that may be indicative of the Dems inability to accurately break down the American electorate. His theory goes like this: "One of the Republican Party's major successes over the last few decades has been to persuade many of the working poor to vote for tax breaks for billionaires." That's both a gross misperception of blue collar voters and a complete misunderstanding of how the real economy works.
It would seem that recent Democratic strategies have been based on selling voters a political perception based on their own distorted biases rather than a coherent plan based on real data. It leads me to wonder if they're ignoring facts on purpose, or if their view of the voting public has gotten so skewed that they've lost touch with American voters. Democrats are either being dishonest, or they've become politically inept.
Whether it's intentional or not, it's difficult to understand how such a conspicuous disconnection with voters can occur. Both major parties enlist the services of experienced political consultants whose job is to provide them with reliable demographic data. These people get paid lots of money for getting their political numbers right. The DNC needs to either listen more carefully to their consultants, or fire them.
Yet, some Democrats have been exploring more off-beat solutions to their voter estrangement. Immediately after the presidential election, scores of disappointed Kerry supporters began talking about moving to Canada. Democratic Party political analyst Lawrence O'Donnell said in complete seriousness on the "McLaughlin Group" that secession from the Union by the blue states might be an option. If this sentiment is any indication of how Democrats truly feel about their red state countrymen--that coexistence with the red states is unacceptable--how can they realistically expect to win elections?
The red state/blue state distinction can be a convenient way of characterizing general voter trends. But we should remember that voters come in all shapes and sizes, and have a wide variety of needs and wants, based on a wide spectrum of political beliefs. To neglect or ignore the specific realities that the red and blue states represent is a sure recipe for political failure.
Bookmarking for later...
Ahh, but it gets better. The DNC and their associated pundits are now worshipping at the feat of Berkely linguistics professor (any better than a certain MIT linguistics professor?) George Lakoff:
(cognitive linguistics, especially the neural theory of language, conceptual systems, conceptual metaphor, syntax-semantics-pragmatics; also the application of cognitive linguistics to politics, literature, philosophy and mathematics... er, just in case you want to know)
Ahem. He has just written "Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate--The Essential Guide for Progressives." This is the new bible that basically elaborates up on the idea that they just need to rephrase and repackage their tired old, slogans and ideas. The book has already received some hilarious reviews in conservative circles even as it is being hailed as the new Democrat bible. The Dems are prescribing for themselves what they prescribe for us: more of the same poison. You should read the Amazon reviews, quite amusing. They really believe that it is still just a matter of fooling enough of us, enough of the time.
While Democrats would no doubt prefer to spin these numbers as evidence that Republicans are the party of the richSometimes the Left tries to paint Republicans as plutocrats.
"One of the Republican Party's major successes over the last few decades has been to persuade many of the working poor to vote for tax breaks for billionaires."At other times the Left tries to paint Republicans as poor hicks.
If you have to read a book to know what you think and how to say it - you ain't got it and the insincerity will still stick out like a skunk in the pansy patch - or is that smell
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.