I originally wrote this post in August, 2011 on the heels of the debt ceiling debacle, but given the recent attention focused on the Supreme Court as they write their opinion on the constitutionality of The Patient Protection Act, and the above "Up with Chris Hayes" segment, I decided to dust it off as a reminder of just how critical every district across this entire country is in this election. With a few additions in [brackets] to bring it up to date, I give you ...
The Supreme Court Is More Important Than Us
2010 was a devastating election for Democrats. We've been witness to that over the past [seventeen] months, with horrendous policy changes taking place all across this nation. And at no time have we felt it harder than [last summer during the] pit-bull style fighting that the tea party wing of the Republican Party engaged in over what should have been nothing more than a procedural vote to raise the Debt Ceiling of the United States.
The day following President Barack Obama's announcement that a "compromise deal" had been hammered out between all the parties was fraught with outrage by the more liberal members of the Democratic Party. And it was an all-too-familiar image of the anger felt by those same liberal Democrats that gave us the results of the 2010 election. ...
So why is it that when Democrats get angry they stay home on election day, but when Republicans get angry, they vote?
The "leg up" that the GOP has on Democrats and Liberals in most elections is that they formulate their message in the broader, bigger picture. They get people to care more about the ideology than self. We see evidence of the success of this strategy every time middle-class Republicans go to the polls and vote "against their own self-interest." Democrats, on the other hand, have a habit of seeing everything through the lens of "self." And if they feel personally slighted ("That's not what I elected him to do!"), they don't vote.
I understand why Democrats frame their message more towards the individual. We are a party focused on protecting individual rights and freedoms. We stand for a helping hand when it's needed, equal access to marriage, giving teachers and students the tools and resources they need to learn and grow, for immigrants to feel welcome here and bring needed skills with them, and for more people to be able to vote, not fewer.
I don't suggest for a moment that Democrats abandon those principles, only that we re-frame the way in which we present these ideals, from focusing on the "individual," to focusing on the "collective." And not because the individual isn’t important, but because a) the country on the whole really is more important, and b) because we have enough evidence to show that that strategy works.
And the reason it’s not just important, but critical, that we adopt a messaging strategy that works, is because the future of our nation for generations to come is quite literally at stake.
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