If the Democrats were waging an all-out culture war, they’d win


Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast

The GOP’s furious desire to turn America into Gilead gives Democrats a perfect chance to turn the tables in the upcoming midterm elections, but only if they go all in and commit to fighting the culture war.

Earlier this week, passionate opponents of Roe v. Wade eagerly anticipated that conservative voters in Kansas would allow the Republican-dominated state legislature to potentially ban abortion.

In a stunning plot twist, Kansas voters rejected the hateful amendment by a margin of nearly 20 points.

There can certainly only be one explanation: latte-loving, vegan liberals, who eat avocado toast and change pronouns as often as their hybrid vehicles, showed up en masse, voting en masse from their biodegradable plastic bubbles. No. The turnout was huge across the board, even in solidly red conservative and rural areas. It seems that a majority of Americans in the 21st century recognize women as human beings who deserve to have autonomy over their bodies, and they refuse to be handmaidens subservient to a radicalized GOP who will not rest until she becomes a Christian. created theocracy.

A Monmouth Poll released this week backed it up. US voters’ top concerns after economic policy (24 percent) were abortion (17 percent) and gun control (17 percent). After all, the right to privacy is a ‘kitchen table’ issue. There’s something about losing a 50-year constitutionally protected right to people who claim to be “pro-life,” which seems infuriating and hypocritical when compared to videos of kids at school doing their best to avoid bullets because many Republicans refuse to support gun control. Even with inflation, a pandemic, disinformation and high gas prices, a majority of Americans still want Democrats to maintain political control.

The Four Stages of Republican Misinformation

Those numbers are astonishing in light of President Biden’s dismal approval ratings, which fluctuated in the high 1930s, and the fact that the president’s political party has historically been defeated in the midterm elections. None of this data follows normal political trends. On the other hand, nothing has been normal since a corrupt vulgar was narrowly elected president in 2016. Now we face an increasingly hostile GOP who believes the big lie, loves assault weapons more than our children, rejects science, and is willing to potentially ban birth control and end marriage equality. It seems that the modern GOP, backed by right-wing hacks in black robes, will not rest until it aggressively takes our liberties and suffocates this country until 1953.

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The question remains whether Democrats will respond to the changing landscape or will they play it safe and refuse to get involved in hot cultural issues for fear of alienating these mythical moderate voters from the interior? Journalist Julio Ricardo Varela, founder of Latino Rebels, remains skeptical. “Even after it was clearly proven that a multi-racial, multi-ethnic coalition led to Barack Obama’s historic victory in 2008, it still seems that in 2022 the Democrats have completely forgotten about those years and are once again stuck in the mid-90s, fearing that ‘ethnic’ will upset white voters,” he told me.

Being timid, defensive and fearful is a loss-making strategy according to Anat Shenkar-Osario, president of ASO Communications, which leads weekly focus groups where she tests messaging strategies with potential voters. According to her, Democrats must rise and fight if they want to convince voters and strengthen their base. “Democrats must go on the attack, because people are” hungry for a demonstration of leadership,” she told me, citing swing voters who “are drawn to decision making in its own right, regardless of the content of that decision.”

She said this explains why they find Republicans attractive, even though they consistently describe them to her team as “bad,” “snakes,” and a party that “cares about no one but itself.” Republicans seem to be using their power to just get shit done and carry out their agenda whether or not it’s popular. Shenkar-Osario said the tests show that expressing passion and assurance makes these voters feel like they are listening to a leader and “someone who picks up the staff and is a shepherd.”

In the wake of the dobbs ruled, however, that passionate anger and leadership were lacking in the Democratic Party. Even though they were well aware that roe was slated to be destroyed thanks to a leaked draft opinion, Democratic leaders responded with slack fundraising emails and empty, pathetic calls to vote in the medium term. It was left to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and a few others, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, to go on talk shows, connect the dots for people, offer solutions and reflect the righteous anger of the people.

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Professor Anthea Butler, author of White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in Americashared that disappointment, telling me that Democratic voters are often “disgusted with” [the party’s] passivity and ineffective messages”, which is independent of the urgency of the moment. However, she believes Democrats now have a chance to finally respond in a way that “can effectively dismantle the Republicans’ campaign of pseudo-morality by pointing out the brutality and real results of their fundamentalist regressive social policies.” that the nation will turn into an uneducated mass of conspiracy-inspired, lackluster people.”

Shenkar-Osario agrees and her data backs it up. According to her, the Democratic message should be simple: “Trump Republicans will take away our freedoms.” That message causes loss aversion, a phenomenon where people are more motivated to avert a potential loss than to estimate a future gain. “Once you have something, even if it’s not that great, you’re not excited to lose it,” Shenkar-Osario explained, recalling how people barricaded the congressional floor when Republicans threatened to eliminate the ACA during Trump’s presidency. . Repeating a simple, effective message works, resonates with voters, and, according to Shenkar-Osario, “breaks the noise.”

That “noise,” or “flooding the zone with shit,” according to Steve Bannon, has been dominated by the right-wing media ecosystem that is making remakes and reboots of the Southern strategy unleashed during the civil rights movement to terrify the white majority against vote for their own interests. Everyone has by now heard their verbal excrement: “immigrants will take your jobs”, “CRT is erasing our history” and “Democrats will take your weapons and freedoms.” Republicans are fueling a fabricated culture war by activating a permanent status threat in which a new group, be it immigrants, black people, Muslims, feminists, LGBTQ or Teletubbies, will take over the dominant place of straight white people in the hierarchy. It’s a vomitorium of projection, terrifying and hateful slogans that are repeated non-stop on TSWT and the right wing to the point where it becomes gospel. Unfortunately, it works.

The reality, however, is that Republicans to be actually affect our culture and our freedoms. They ban books, punish teachers, threaten companies, suppress votes, attack the US Capitol, rob our freedom to choose our president, and end a woman’s right to have an abortion.

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When the Democrats advance the Republicans’ hateful view and in turn provide a compelling and clear alternative narrative, they win. Recent examples include Michigan State Senator Mallory McMorrow who chose to respond to her Republican colleague’s hateful accusations of “groomer” with a viral video in which she clearly articulated her identity as a white, heterosexual, Christian mother whose values ​​inspire her. about the “hollow, hateful scheme” and anti-LGBTQ bigotry. She pledged that Democrats “will not let hate win.” McMorrow’s passion and clarity have been rewarded with a huge spike in donations and media engagement, and her speech is used as Template for Democratic Messages Shenkar-Osario told me that when they tested McMorrow’s speech with and without her references to race, the one naming race was much more convincing on a sample of 5,000 voters.

If Supreme Court Can Overturn Roe v. Wade, It Could Ban Interracial Marriage

Governor Gavin Newsom is another excellent example of a Democrat going on the offensive. On Independence Day, Newsom ran an ad in Florida listing all the ways “freedom is under attack by Republican leaders,” such as book bans, voter suppression, speech restrictions, and the criminalization of women and doctors. He invited Floridians to join him in California, a state run by Democrats where they protect and defend freedoms. This was excellent trolling according to Shenkar-Osario, but more importantly, it was very effective and memorable coverage.

As Democrats prepare for the midterms of 2022 with a fully radicalized GOP that worships traitors, religious extremists, criminals and Christian nationalists like Marjorie Taylor Greene, they must put brass knuckles into the knife fight, take Republicans’ knees out as they go low , and participate fully in the culture war in defense of women, people of color, the poor and other marginalized communities under steam by the GOP hate machine.

Shenkar-Osario’s message to Democrats is simple: “Occupy your ground, go on the attack and always say what you’re for — that performs better in the field and outperforms the masses. If your words don’t spread, it won’t work.”

It’s time for Democrats to speak up and say the words.

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