Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Insurrection as Crime

"The left defunded the police and let criminals out of jail."


Odd, his tweets always read like they are directed at semi-literate, low-information, gullible people who require small words, short sentences and zero facts.

Unfortunately, many voters are gullible people possessing little information and requiring small words, short sentences, and zero facts. So they responded positively when Republicans, approximately a month ago

unleashed a barrage of negative ads in the final weeks of the midterms that hammer Democrats on crime.

In at least two states, the strategy appears to be taking hold.

Recent polling suggests that after GOP Senate candidates zeroed in on crime in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, the trajectory of the races shifted. In Wisconsin in particular, the negative ads have relentlessly targeted Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who is challenging Sen. Ron Johnson.

“They’ve all got the same crib notes: Attack Democrats on crime,” said political science professor Charles Franklin, the director of the Marquette University Law School poll.

A Democrat "who asked not to be named for fear of political retribution asked “Why has it taken so long to figure out an answer to this crime messaging?” Why does it feel like Ron Johnson had like a month to hammer away at Mandela unanswered?”

Well, of course, he or she feared political retribution. Mention "crime" and most people- by a long shot, not all of them white- think of street crime and think blacks. It's not an easy issue for Democrats to address, given their base of black-dominated civil rights organizations and their liberal white allies. Understandably, though repulsively, the GOP ads sometimes feature unnamed young black males and, even when they do not, omit faces of white criminals.

The valid "crime is not committed by blacks because they are black" explanation does not fit easily into a political slogan or a campaign ad. Yet, Democrats know they cannot cede the playing field to the GOP.

There has been a Democratic crime message just begging to be used.  It has been out in the open, visible to all, for the better part of a year. It even has a name- "January 6."

The Democratic Party could have adopted a unifying message, one circumventing the conflict (mostly manufactured by the media, but still) between emphasis on abortion and emphasis on inflation, gas prices, or what the superficial punditocracy sometimes refers to as "kitchen table issues." (The 1970s wants its family lifestyle back.)

Ads would feature footage of the insurrection which took place on January 6, 2021. They could have been accompanied with a voiceover referring to an attempt to overthrow the government, an effort to destroy the United States of America as we have known it.   Blame would be laid upon Republicans- or at least among "MAGA Republicans" as the timid would prefer, while making clear that these latter are representative of the Republican Party itself.

In the waning days of the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump, in the greatest political irony ever, stated

- “If Hillary Clinton were to be elected, it would create an unprecedented and protracted constitutional crisis. Haven’t we just been through a lot with the Clintons, right?”

- “Hillary is likely to be under investigation for many years, probably concluding in a criminal trial.”

- “She'll be under investigation for years. She'll be with trials. Our country, we have to get back to work.”

-  If she were to win this election, it would create an unprecedented constitutional crisis. In that situation, we could very well have a sitting president under felony indictment and ultimately a criminal trial.”

- “Her current scandals and controversies will continue throughout her presidency and we will make it honestly, look, it's gonna be virtually impossible for her to govern. Now, the Republicans have talked very tough and the Democrats. It's gonna be just another mess for another four years, folks. A mess. We've got to get back to work, right? I mean, we have to get back to work.”

Then Donald Trump pulled off one of the greatest, albeit most catastrophic, upsets in American political history, if not world history.   He did so in part by convincing a significant number of voters that if he lost, there would be endless chaos, investigations, and disruption. 

At 3:53 of this video above, a leading political behaviouralist explains that Republicans have been airing their crime videos because "you know, it's all more vivid. I guess, you get more of a visceral reaction, which is probably what ad makers are going for." Democrats could have turned the tables on the other guys and gals with a few ads of their own, even noting that Republicans have promised endless investigations if they get back into power, with impeachment of President Biden likely.

Remind the public that so many of these Republican officials- better yet, "Washington politicians"- support dangerous, violent thugs who want to destroy Americans and their way of life. Truth has its own appeal.


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