Skip to comments.The Power of Emotion in Electoral Politics
Posted on 09/22/2012 4:56:37 PM PDT by crusher
You cannot dissuade a person from a position with reason and facts if reason and facts did not determine the position in the first place.
The eternal hurdle of conservatism in the minds of a large component of the electorate perhaps even a majority, we will learn in November -- is that it sounds mean. I am constantly told that Leftists in general and Obama in particular have the upper hand because they sound nice, like they care. I am now persuaded, after decades of ardent resistance to the idea, that this analysis is both perceptive and correct.
I am by no means a Romney fan, he ranked eleventh among the ten GOP candidates for me, but I believe that another term of this current communist cabal will bring an end to the United States of America. I have made no secret of my conclusion that this outcome is nearly inevitable, but I keep hoping and praying that the nation will come to its senses, but I do not see evidence of that hope coming to fruition. Sometimes a brief experiential vignette brings further clarity to my thought.
Last Monday I was in the waiting room of the car dealer service center biding my time until the shuttle took me to work while the car was being repaired. The television was on and it seemed like every advertisement was either by Romney or Obama. The response of the rest of the patrons was startling in its vehemence. When Romney was on the screen the virulent hostility of *every single person* (except me) was palpable. I was taken back by the venomous hatred, and several of the observers expressed out loud a desire to literally kill Romney themselves. Why? Because, He is going to take away our stuff! An Obama appearance was greeted with enthusiasm equal to the previous hatred as these folks expressed an exhortation to Protect our boy so he can keep giving us our stuff.
When I mentioned this to my wife and my adult daughters, sensible conservative pro-life Godly women all, they concurred with the general thesis of this essay. Conservatives sound mean and are falling farther and farther behind when they try to make reasoned, factual arguments. The vast majority of the electorate is immune to factual arguments, they aver, because the world is now governed by rampant emotionalism, and the Leftists are simply far more skilled at using irrational, emotional manipulation. In my ladies assessments, the GOP has to make emotional arguments to counter the Left and connect with the electorate, and they (conservatives/GOP) are simply incapable to doing so effectively.
Indeed, conservatism, with its message of self responsibility, probity, temperance, hard work, and virtue is a tough sell when the opposition is simply making promises to give away more stuff to freeloaders, moochers, and looters. Remember the apocryphal story, probably fictional but nevertheless imbued with truth, of the election for third grade class president when one candidate outlined and agenda while his opponent merely promised free ice cream and more play time, thus winning in a landslide? That is the electorate today. Future be damned, give me my ice cream!
While my ladies agreed with the facts and rationality of Romneys 47% comments, they were unanimous in thinking it lost the election for the Republicans because the news media has been able to frame the issue so that it sounds like Romney does not care. On the other hand Obama sounds like he cares even though he is spewing provable lies. Much of the electorate simply does not care about facts or reason. When I see an unrepentant collectivist miscreant essentially tied for the electorates affection, I have to agree. In a factual, rational world he would have about 2% of the electorate in his corner. Five generations after Antonio Gramsci formulated the march through the institutions for the radical Left, who can dispute the observation that the collectivists control every meaningful institution critical to forming the thoughts, perceptions, and attitudes of Western Civilization schools, courts, churches, media, popular culture? As I have said before, the upcoming election is a not so much a judgment on Romney or Obama, it is a revelation of us as a nation.
The Romney campaign reassures us with the notion that its non-stop carpet bombing of campaign commercials in October will change the outcome. I wish they were right, but fear they are not. By that point the imprinting will have already been complete, and the effect of the Left getting into the publics mind first with brilliantly propagandistic emotionally charged advertisements, and the persuasion will be complete. Combined with a 100:1 advantage in news media presentations on behalf of DaWon, I wonder if the outcome is already predetermined.
Tea Party activists argue that its all about getting out the vote and that is in great part true. However, we forget the other side has a streak of desperate passion working in its favor. All of those people in the waiting room of the car dealer are desperate to keep their stuff and they will crawl across glass to vote for their boy. We would like to think that people who work for a living are highly motivated to toss out this malignant poseur, but we forget that people who vote for a living are even more motivated to keep their goodies coming.
If I am correct, it may be that Matt Bracken and James Wesley, Rawles are optimists.
Prepare people, prepare. The future is a chaotic place.
I’m afraid you may be right. Obama 2012 may be the 1st Presidential election when emotion trumps all reason. No President in post WW2 history has performed as poorly at his job as O yet to many voters that simply does not matter.
It reminds me of the stories of the prisoners on their way to the gulags after their beatings, confessions and show trials. There were always a few who could be heard to say, “I did nothing! If only Stalin knew about this, he’d stop it.”
My wife just walked out of the room in a huff because I told her that I did not agree with her view that the nation was going to turn on Obama once they found out what a low life lying SOB that he really was.
He says what they want to hear, and even though their rational minds tell them that he is lying, their emotional minds like what he says and believe that he will truly come through and get them more “stuff”.
This is the fundamental problem with politicians, they will always tell the voters what they want to hear and if they are lefties, the press will never hold them to account.
This reminds me of a drive through the Berkshires around 2005, I recall seeing a volvo with VT plates with a home made bumper sticker that said ‘George Bush does not care about you.”
While I hope no president thinks or even knows about me personally I hope that (s)he will think that the best which can be done for me and all other citizens is to uphold their oath of office and support and defend the constitution of the US.
This is why I feel blessed to be a septuagenarian.
Well said, posterchild!
For one thing, I’ve stopped saying “dependent on government” or “government programs.”
My own little struggle for the moral and emotional high ground: I say say “dependent on taxpayers” or “taxpayer-funded programs.”
It’s never “my stuff.” It’s someone else’s stuff that the government is giving to me.
Which is not to say that I’m opposed to every single instance of taxpayer-funded support. I just want to make it very clear who is paying for the stuff. It’s not the Great and Beneficent Obama.
Most people are hard-wired for a sense of fairness. Some of them of course are perpetually aggrieved and the world is never fair to THEM.
But fairness is one thing conservatives can appeal to, while recognizing that nature is not fair at all, and bad stuff happens.
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