Friday, February 24, 2017

All That's Needed Is To State The Obvious

In this, the future-storied (assuming there's a future) Dark Times Of Ignorance we see many articles announcing what Democrats must do to regain authority. I don't entirely disagree with any of them. Become "the party of freedom," unite disparate factions, redistricting, and more and more; all of which fall, to varying degrees, into the category of "duh." Who can argue?

But the most basic "duh" of all is simply pointing to the effects of Republican policies, and making the obvious case of whom they hurt, and whom they help. That's all there is to it. It's there, it's undeniable, it's real. And by the time the next election rolls around, it'll be all but self-evident. Calling attention would be like stating the current weather.

Which is not to say, of course, that Democrats, who've never been able to stay on message or make a strong case for anything, will be able, finally, to do it, even when the target is so easy: average people are being screwed, the affluent are being gifted. From my upcoming newspaper column, which I published here yesterday:
... It’ll again be legal to dump coal sludge into rivers and streams; it’s no longer necessary for oil companies to report bribes they provide overseas. Mentally ill can once again get guns. Anew, methane leaks are okay. Banks will be deregulated back to pre-recession status. Borrowers under the FHA will pay hundreds more in interest payments. Financial advisers will no longer have to act in the best interest of clients. Clean air and automobile mileage standards will be removed, climate research defunded. School breakfast programs for hungry poor kids are cut, because who cares? A touted hiring freeze will harm veterans. 
Once more, banks are free to raise overdraft fees. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau is gutted. The agency that helps ensure accuracy of voting machines: gone. We’re even back in the blood diamond business, because why not? Who benefits from this, other than the moneyed, the greedy, the dishonest, and the vindictive? How does any of it help average Americans? ...
This ought to be shooting ducks in a fish barrel after the horse has left a piece of cake in the barn. Which explains the constant Trumpian claims of "fake news" and the attacks on the press. The only way to counter facts like the above is to make people ignore or disbelieve them.

So the question is, can Democrats overcome a massive and decades-long disinformation campaign? Can people, made gullible and information-averse by endless and highly effective right-wing propaganda, be shown the light and not turn away from the unfamiliar brightness? Can anyone in the Democratic Party turn party history around and get their message-shit together?

[Image source]


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately it will not be like "shooting fish in a barrel". You have a great example from your career in medicine. Population studies initially suggested that smoking where to cancer and other serious diseases, then the evidence became stronger. The cigarette companies managed keep the public confused about this for years. The game plan was straightforward. Create controversy, find research that looks for other causes, appeal to claims of freedom and the like. According to Gary Taubes recent book the sugar companies follow the same game plan.

And so it will be for all the issues you mentioned. Republicans deny global warming exists. They will defund any agency that investigates it, they will dig up scientists willing to say it isn't true and publicize them. If the nut with the sign downtown is right then apparently 10,000 architects and engineers want a new investigation of 9–11. I bet you can get more to want a new investigation of a global warming. Paul Ryan recently tweeted comparing the fight against Obama care to a fight for freedom to buy what you want and need rather than being required by the government to buy certain products. The Republicans in Congress have eagerly embraced dynamic scoring for the effects of policies, and with their thumb on the scale you can be sure every study will show their policies more than pay for themselves. Speaking of which, how many people still believe tax cuts pay for themselves? Bank regulation needs to be cut because as Trump pointed out his friend with a "fine business" can't get a loan. It doesn't matter this isn't true, the fox listeners are convinced that the Democrats hate capitalism and believe Trump.

And on and on. There isn't a Republican change they can't justify to their base, sowing doubt were the facts are blatantly against them. And don't under estimate the power of self deception. How about all those trump voters that thought he would never actually touch Obamacare?


Sidney Schwab said...

You're right, Mike. I didn't mean to say it'd be easy to overcome the rightwing noise machine; but it's what's necessary to win the arguments.

Professor Chaos said...

I heard Jason Kandor at the DNC meeting this weekend. He made the point that if progressives just tell people exactly what they believe and why, people respond positively even if they disagree. And there are more Americans who agree with progressive values than those who don't. Dems just need to stand up for some principles, quit hemming and hawing and trying to "triangulate" and give the voters a reason to show up at the polls and pull the (D) lever.

Sidney Schwab said...

RIght. Maybe the new DNC head will hear, and get the message out!

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