Monday, August 14, 2006

Democrat failed to persuade Independents

An Opposition That Opposes - Los Angeles CityBeat: Andrew Gumbel notices that Lamont's narrow victory over Lieberman involved only Democrats, while earlier by-elections by impassioned Democrats failed. In particularly he analyzed the attempt by a Democrat, Francine Busby, to win the seat of imprisoned felon, Duke Cunningham -- California's 50th Congressional district: "Busby’s campaign turns out to have been far less effective than the media suggested. While she certainly galvanized Democrats in the 50th Congressional District, and while Republican turnout was markedly lower than usual because of disenchantment with the status quo, she failed to capture the one constituency she desperately needed to put her over the top, which was independent voters. Her promise to push for better ethics in Washington fell utterly flat with them, because they were almost as suspicious about the integrity of the Democratic Party as they were of the Republicans. Things might have been different if Busby had been running against Duke Cunningham himself, but the man was in prison, not on the ballot. Independents, according to the survey, either stayed home or voted for a third-party candidate."

I am largely in agreement with this analysis, but not necessarily with the interpretation. Democrats, particularly Democrats on the left, but really, all Democrats, tend to be tone-deaf with regard to low-information voters. Many professional Democrats -- I'm talking about people, who advise and manage campaigns and buy ads -- are themselves low-information voters and don't even know it. But, the independents are the lowest of low information voters; they are hard to reach; they don't know much about politics, because, basically, they don't want to know much. They like the few opinions they have, and want those opinions confirmed; they don't want to think that the country is in the hands of madmen.

Democrats, regular partisan and well-informed Democrats want to hear the Democratic politicians commit themselves to aggressive political conflict with the despised Republicans. The independent voter does NOT want to hear any such thing, but does need to hear it. The broadcast Media, firmly in the hands of a corporate Right-Wing, is the primary source of what little news the independent voter gets, and they are not going to convey the Democratic message, unless forced, Katrina-style.

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