HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » The problem with midterm ...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 01:11 AM

The problem with midterm elections for Democrats:

The right wing whips its voters into a frenzy, and those voters show up because they *know* they are at war. And it's a war they are single-mindedly determined to win.

There is no equivalent frenzy among voters who might support Democrats because they don't feel called to win a war. They don't even get that there IS a war. Right wing framing of issues is so all-pervasive that it's become normalized. And, thanks to the Corporate media, there are essentially no voices heard who might challenge it.

The big national elections every four years when the presidency is being contested gets peoples' attention because it's THE American Idol contest of American politics. The midterms, not so much. Because only one side considers itself at war, only one side thinks that it's in a life or death struggle for control - and those are the folks who reliably show up.

I know that most of us here on DU also understand that we too are at war, but that's just not the case with most of the American electorate, who are more or less disengaged and have no sense of the bigger picture.

I have no idea what it will take for our side to awaken the same sense of urgency in ordinary disengaged voters that the right wing does with their supporters. The right wing accomplishes this through constant lies and by appealing to the base instincts and irrationality of those who have no capacity for critical thinking. It's no great feat to gin up that sort of angry mob out of such material.

The question, it seems to me, is how do we, who value truth, rationality and independent thinking, gin up our own angry mob, ready to go to war? Is there a way to do this?

35 replies, 1263 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 35 replies Author Time Post
Reply The problem with midterm elections for Democrats: (Original post)
scarletwoman Mar 2014 OP
Skip Intro Mar 2014 #1
Berlum Mar 2014 #11
bluestate10 Mar 2014 #2
Scootaloo Mar 2014 #5
on point Mar 2014 #3
madinmaryland Mar 2014 #4
DeSwiss Mar 2014 #6
Beartracks Mar 2014 #7
scarletwoman Mar 2014 #15
ErikJ Mar 2014 #8
Scuba Mar 2014 #9
polichick Mar 2014 #27
Scuba Mar 2014 #34
xchrom Mar 2014 #10
jwirr Mar 2014 #12
Bandit Mar 2014 #13
scarletwoman Mar 2014 #19
Bandit Mar 2014 #20
Bluenorthwest Mar 2014 #22
scarletwoman Mar 2014 #26
Nuclear Unicorn Mar 2014 #14
scarletwoman Mar 2014 #16
Bluenorthwest Mar 2014 #18
scarletwoman Mar 2014 #23
Nuclear Unicorn Mar 2014 #21
scarletwoman Mar 2014 #24
Nuclear Unicorn Mar 2014 #25
Excelsyor Mar 2014 #17
tiredtoo Mar 2014 #28
Demo_Chris Mar 2014 #29
scarletwoman Mar 2014 #30
Demo_Chris Mar 2014 #31
JoePhilly Mar 2014 #32
gulliver Mar 2014 #33
polichick Mar 2014 #35

Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 01:20 AM

1. Both sides engage in anger-mongering.

The reps have an edge this year because, first, Dems hold the WH, and the president is the face of "those running things" and Obama's approval is weak, as is the approval of the issue the reps will likely make THE issue of the 2014 elections - Obamacare. The majority don't support either, that isn't likely to change, and November will be rough.

Sometimes we have the edge, though, and we're no strangers to whipping up our own anger and hatred to get it and keep it.

Sometimes I wonder if it isn't all some grand charade.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Skip Intro (Reply #1)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 09:16 AM

11. Phalse Equiv

?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 01:39 AM

2. We need to educate people on our side about what is at stake and start now. We have

the numbers. I am sorry that the other reply to your OP believes that there is no difference between republicans (the right) and Democrats, there is an enormous difference. Republicans want to shut down all activity except activity they believe in, they will send our country back to the 30s if they are allowed to prevail.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bluestate10 (Reply #2)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 02:09 AM

5. "We need to educate people on our side about what is at stake"

By this, I suppose you mean the candidates, right?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 01:52 AM

3. Need democratic LEADERSHIP that aren't constant sell outs to corporations. MAKE THE CASE

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 02:09 AM

4. You do remember 1998 and 2006? nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 03:13 AM

6. Ginning up anger is not an answer for anyone.

- Anger is never the answer. Anger is transitory. Anger is unthinking. It has been the lack of a sustained effort and of thinking which I believe has gotten us to where we are now. The only answer is Unconditional Love.

The. Only. One.

''Everyone sits in the prison of his own ideas. A human being is a part of the whole called by us "Universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as thing separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.''

~Albert Einstein


K&R

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DeSwiss (Reply #6)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 03:18 AM

7. I've never heard this Einstein quote before. Beautiful and epic. n/t

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DeSwiss (Reply #6)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 10:12 AM

15. I understand, and I don't disagree.

I can see that "anger" is the wrong word - what I'm thinking of is actually "passion". As in, inspiring voters to feel passionately enough about what's at stake for our country to motivate them to get to the polls.

Your Einstein quote is wonderful, and I would never argue against unconditional love!

I'll give you a quote in return, that probably best expresses what was going through my mind when I wrote my OP:

The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity. (W.B. Yeats - The Second Coming)

Thank you for your thoughtful reply.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 03:45 AM

8. Republicans are on AGGRESSIVE OFFENSIVE 24/7. Benghazi, IRS scandal, Ukraine

Even without a shred of evidence or a single indictment, they keep alive all these 5 fake scandals just to gin up their base. I dont see Dems attacking in the same way. When GOP does something wrong we just kind of let it slide.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 07:59 AM

9. Fear and hate are powerful motivators. "Let's be reasonable", not so much.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Scuba (Reply #9)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 12:06 PM

27. And "let's be reasonable and adopt their policies" is killer.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to polichick (Reply #27)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 02:16 PM

34. Bingo!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 08:05 AM

10. if the leadership doesn't communicate that sense of 'urgency'

don't expect the voters to just magically get it.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 09:28 AM

12. Okay, the DSCC is asking for $3 to start combating the lies by the Koch brothers. Is that a place to

start? I have always mistrusted the congressional committees because they tend to support right leaning candidates. Can we trust them now and if not who the hell is there to trust?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 09:32 AM

13. "Vote By Mail"

I believe if people have the luxury of voting from their home with plenty of time to familiarize themselves with the issues and candidates, that more people will vote. Use turn-out comparisons from places (Oregon) that do have "Vote By Mail" and all the rest of the USA. Many people detest standing in lines so much they just choose not to bother. The way we vote now is a hassle, and it doesn't need to be. The easier we make it the more likely more people will vote. There can still be a few polling locations for those that don't have a current address, or those that just would rather vote in that manner. If our goal is to increase turn-out then I can't think of a better way.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Bandit (Reply #13)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 10:41 AM

19. Fair point. Certainly, making voting easier ought to be a priority.

However, the current reality is that states with republican-controlled legislatures have been working to make voting harder - and that won't get turned around unless we have better turnout NOW.

In order to get laws passed to make voting easier, we need to elect people who will work to do that. And if voters don't turn out to elect people who will pass laws to make voting easier, then no such laws will be passed.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to scarletwoman (Reply #19)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 10:48 AM

20. In many places Republicans mail every registered Republican an absentee ballot.

They understand very well the lure of voting from home so one doesn't have to mix with the masses. If your states allow absentee voting maybe we should see about getting Democratic voters better access to them. There is also the referendum process wherever it is allowed. We need to put this as a major priority; Republicans did two decades ago.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to scarletwoman (Reply #19)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 10:49 AM

22. Yes, but those election laws are State level and should be used as campaign issues

And clearly advocated by Democrats in those States. Year after year I watch some States actively suppress the vote, and yet I do not hear Democratic officials or voters take up voter access as an issue in advance of elections.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #22)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 11:53 AM

26. Yes, absolutely!

Year after year I watch some States actively suppress the vote, and yet I do not hear Democratic officials or voters take up voter access as an issue in advance of elections.

Yes, voter access very much ought to be an issue. I don't know, I suppose some of it is inertia - we've always done it this way, and it's good enough. Why Democratic politians won't push it - when it could make their re-elections more secure - is something of a mystery.

It would seem that it will have to be the voters who do the pushing - and yet, those who do not feel particularly disenfranchised by their current voting system may not think of it as urgent issue, and those who already feel disenfranchised may be too far past feeling engaged enough in their governance to bother.

Thanks for bringing this up.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 09:59 AM

14. No offense, but your premise doesn't hold-up to observed history.

The problem with midterm elections for Democrats:

The right wing whips its voters into a frenzy, and those voters show up because they *know* they are at war. And it's a war they are single-mindedly determined to win.

There is no equivalent frenzy among voters who might support Democrats because they don't feel called to win a war. They don't even get that there IS a war. Right wing framing of issues is so all-pervasive that it's become normalized. And, thanks to the Corporate media, there are essentially no voices heard who might challenge it.


Bush lost both houses during the mid-term election of his second term. That means democratic and independent voters are perfectly capable of turning out to vote and tossing out GOP politicians.

When they feel duly motivated to do so.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #14)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 10:17 AM

16. No offense taken. :)

And I certainly don't disagree with your observations.

The key bit is your last sentence: "When they feel motivated to do so." That's it, exactly! So, my question remains - how do we get them motivated?

Thank you for your thoughts on this!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to scarletwoman (Reply #16)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 10:35 AM

18. Also, the low turn out and loss habit is not a national state of affairs, it's local

and regional. Why not look to the States that did just fine in 2010 and 2012 and see what other States might learn from them? I do not see the value in insisting that this problem exists where it does not exist, unless the point is to avoid calling out the states that actually suppress voting rather than encourage it.
Oregon votes by mail, more voting, better voting, more entertaining and never annoying voting.
Low Turn Out Zone States have 'election day' with long lines no matter what the weather. Not enough 'polling places'. A few short hours to come and get a ballot then a few short minutes to fill it out. We get two weeks. We can make photocopies. Our Sec of State, Kate Brown, seeks to encourage voting and ease access for all.
We offer candidates that are not 'almost Republicans'. We consider issues of importance.
The entire West Coast was 2010 Democratic victory territory, but the rest of the nation never said thanks, never asked how, they just natter away that all Democrats 'across the country' don't bother to vote. It does get old and tiresome. Examples are offered. Why not try some of them?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #18)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 11:16 AM

23. Actually, being a Minnesotan, I *live* in an example of a state that got an all Dem legislature in

2012.

In the 2010 midterms, we got a Dem governor, but not the legislature. In the 2012 elections - a presidential election year - Dems turned out in big enough numbers to turn both houses of the state legislature from Republican to Democrat. However, it was clear that the 2012 Dem turnout was greatly motivated by opposition to the the two Constitutional Amendments that the repugs had pushed onto the ballot: Voter ID and a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. The republicans had overstepped, and there was backlash from the voters.

So yes, I totally agree with you that this is a state-by-state issue, and each state has its own unique mix of issues and access that affect voter turnout. The thing is, no matter what mix of history, trends, habits, mindsets, motivating factors we all face in our various states when it comes to getting voters to show up; shifts can happen, efforts can fall short, lies can win out.

There is a relentlessness on the other side that crosses all state boundaries - for example, ALEC-designed legislation gets proposed in ALL states that are controlled by Republicans. Republicans can depend on the "Christian" Right to march lockstep to the polls in ALL states. Some of us are lucky to live in states where there are enough people who will vote to defeat those forces, but it's an ongoing struggle. And I do think it's a national struggle, however it may manifest in each individual state.

Thank you for your thoughts on this matter.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to scarletwoman (Reply #16)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 10:49 AM

21. I don't know, because -- again, based on observation --

what keeps people home is disillusionment. Many times they can be motivated by an appeal to urgency, i.e. "OMG! Terror!" or "OMG! The economy!" or "OMG! Healthcare!"

But then, silly proles that we are, we want to see actual results. Don't tell me "They hate us for their freedoms." and then create a massive domestic surveillance apparatus that does nothing but curtail our freedoms (maybe the strategy is to destroy our freedoms ourselves so they won't hate us anymore? ). Don't tell me the insurance companies are ruining healthcare then pass a 1,500-page bill that tucks within it a slush fund to prop-up insurance companies. Don't tell me corporations are strangling the economy and then pass inscrutable taxes and regulations that require mega-corporation levels of wealth to achieve compliancy while choking the entrepreneurs (and odds are the corps lobbied to make it that way).

What person in their right mind would vote for more of this crap? If people are staying home it is a testament to their cynicism borne of basic rationality. We're disillusioned because of the ease and comfort by which the liars tell their lies.

Alas, we aren't going to be able to find (435 + 100 + 9 + 1) * 0.51 saints. Not now, not at any point in the appreciable future and certainly not for any sustained period of time. We're stuck on planet Earth and it's full of humans. People who want to be good and decent become citizens and go about their lives peaceably. The rest become muggers, rapists and politicians; because that is where the power over other humans is found.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #21)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 11:42 AM

24. "...it is a testament to their cynicism borne of basic rationality." Yes, without a doubt.

Honestly, I agree with everything you've said 100%.

However, I also agree with what Bluenorthwest pointed out above, about looking at this in terms of LOCAL elections rather than just Nationally.

On a state level, the midterm elections have a very real effect on whether state governance gets better or worse. I'm no fan of the Insurance Company Profit Protection Act (aka ACA), yet at the same time, there's a substantial difference for people on the ground depending on whether or not their state government signed up for or rejected the Federal Medicaid expansion money.

Same with voting laws, freedom to choose, anti-gay discrimination, criminal justice, gun laws, public schools, etc.

While sheer disgust, dismay and cynicism is basically the only rational response to what goes on in DC, when we think in terms of who controls our state governments, we do have a very real stake in fighting those battles.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to scarletwoman (Reply #24)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 11:44 AM

25. I would agree with you and BWN. We need to keep it local. n/t

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 10:20 AM

17. Democrats have majority in the Senate and Obama won twice

 

Your argument is weak.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 12:06 PM

28. We all have to continue in our efforts at reframing

This is not an easy task but it can and must be done. We may have to work on one or two voters at a time. We should always use logic and gentle persuasion. Screaming and hollering only serves to harden others opinions.

Sorry about the shameless plug but, no one has to go there.
I gave an example of such action in my blog today. and also linked to a blog that explains in detail what happened over the past 40 years or so that created the current environment.
People have been "brainwashed" by the MSM to believe they have no options except to accept their lot in life.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 01:38 PM

29. I always forget... Which corporatist oligarch am I supposed to vote for?

 

We elected Obama with a majority in the house and a super in the Senate. It literally doesn't get better than that. None the less, all they delivered were excuses. So really, what is there to get excited about? I am not saying don't vote, I am saying it really does not matter. Obama, like Bush and Clinton and all the rest, is going to do exactly what his corporate employers tell him to do.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #29)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 01:44 PM

30. Surely there are candidates running for your state house that could use your vote for doing good.

2014 isn't just about DC, we have governors and state legislatures to elect, too. No matter what happens in DC, what happens in our state elections matters a lot!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to scarletwoman (Reply #30)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 01:48 PM

31. Absolutely. That's where we can make progress, at least until Washington takes it away. nt

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 01:54 PM

32. Anger the right, discourage the left. That's the messaging.

Angry people vote, discouraged people stay home.

The right wing media works to anger the right and energize them to vote. The left wing media spends the majority of its time attacking Dems.

Look at DU ... do we see more OPs focused on getting out the vote, or more OPs endlessly complaining about how terrible Obama and the Democrats are?

The GOP's efforts to suppress the vote probably won't be enough ... so apparently, we need to work to discourage Dems, as a way to help them out.

At least that's how it often appears.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 02:00 PM

33. Feed the slackers to the wolves.

Anyone who doesn't vote Democratic in the midterm should have their interests placed on the short list for sacrifice to the Republicans. The people who vote take precedence. We should make that abundantly clear. Voting means membership. Non-membership means being tossed overboard to the Republicans as necessary.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to gulliver (Reply #33)

Mon Mar 17, 2014, 11:38 AM

35. What about our "leaders" who have adopted RepubliCon policies?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread