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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:48 PM
Original message
"Don't Want" VS. "Should Want"
Edited on Fri Jan-28-05 12:55 PM by FrenchieCat
In my view, it seems like "don't want" issues are more effective in reasonating with voters these days, e.g., don't want more taxes; dont want big unions; don't want trial lawyers; don't want more terrorist attacks; don't want big government programs; don't want gay people living next door; don't want guns taken away; don't want government regulations; don't want people telling them they can't pray; don't want failing schools; don't want no welfare; don't want illigal immigrants, etc., etc., etc...

Maybe there's something to be said about selling "don't want" issues as opposed to the Democrats' who tend to promote "should want" issues, e.g.; health care, social security, a balanced budget, peace on earth, equal rights for everyone, higher wages, a balance playing field, economic opportunities, superior public education and affordable secondary education.

Is this the reason that Republicans are so effective in getting voters to align with them, even if the overwhelming majority of the Republicans' policies are against the interest of such voters (for the most part)?

I am quickly concluding that although Democrats have been given the "Big Tent" reputation, it's the Republicans that have been building a "big tent" reality for some time now based on cobbling groups of those supporting "Don't Want" issues.

It does appear that the Repugs seem able to gather all different types of contrasting "one issue voters" together under the big Republican banner, i.e.; The Radical Fundies, the Hate big Government/hate taxes, the racists, The homophobes, the military, the state righters, the anti-abortionists, the Neocons, the isolationists, the anti-welfarers, The Gun owners, Nascar dads, the Security moms, the anti-Clintons and the capitalist free marketers/Wall street type who mostly voted Bush. And Repugs also appear to be making some headway in attracting minorities much better than in their Republican past...not based on the whole GOP platform....but just on one or two little parts of the social portion of their platform.

That is a real feat if you ask me....and it seems to be how they get so many more votes than they deserve (apart from the voting "irregularities").

Democrats, often are interpreted as being milktoast-like and of having a "mixed" message. Is this because they want to be inclusive and to be all things to as many as possible?

So is the problem that Democrats end up offering watered down versions on just about everything...trying to keep "even keel" policy offers that might please a majority of their party members.....and framing most issues in the optimistic "should want" mentality....as opposed to what voters "don't want".

I am starting to believe, based on the last few election cycles, that a case can be made that many voters feel they have more power telling the government what they "don't want"....rather than asking for what they "should want" to have.

Is it possible that we are no longer a "can do" nation....but a have become a "don't want" nation?

It's something to ponder. Maybe the Democrats' messages have to be framed in a "don't want" fashion instead of "should want" proposals. Maybe that would speak deeper into the hearts of Americans in the unfortunate current political climate.

What say you?
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flamin lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:57 PM
Response to Original message
1. Hmmmm,
I hadn't thought about it that way but you may be onto something. The Repubs usually run on one something for nothing give away and against everything else. The tax cuts and private accounts are a positive something-for-nothing offering, but everything else is negative--anti gay marriage, anti abortion, anti gun control, anti just about everything we stand for.

How about rephrasing the debate to a negative approach?

We're against illiteracy, not for education spending. We're against poverty, not for assistance.

Might work.
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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Yes....to go on with this against instead of "For".....
Maybe Dems should announce that they are anti-Imperialism, anti-big deficit, anti-intolerance, anti-racism, anti-descrimination, anti-church over state rule, anti-unaccountability, anti-corporate give aways, anti-jobs to other nations, anti-lack of science, anti-one party rule, ...

and make the Repugs be for Imperialism, big deficits, intolerance, rascim, descrimination, God over government rule, etc....

This is the hard part. I can identify their anti-jingles....but it's harder to come up with some that we could use effectively.
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flamin lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 04:45 PM
Response to Reply #4
17. Dang it! That's good.
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Donna Zen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 07:07 PM
Response to Reply #4
24. I use a "don't want"
...and Frenchie, you are definately on to something. My don't want works: I don't want the government in my bedroom.


Whether it is because my listener is so conditioned to "don't want" messages that their heads just bobble in agreement, or prehaps the message actually hits a nerve, but that is my answer to the anti-choice people. I don't want the government in my bedroom, and I don't want to empower my government to enact policies like those in China.

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KissMeKate Donating Member (741 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:58 PM
Response to Original message
2. I "dont want"
republicans and roll over democrats.

interesting post.

Its depressing to think people would support war because they "dont want" gays to get married.

I think we Dems need to take more control of the conversation instead of reacting to the GOP.
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flamin lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 01:07 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Yep, it's all about the wording.
A simple change in phrasing can make a huge difference. Take abortion. We can maintain our current platform plank but use the phrase, "Abortion should be rare, safe and legal." Re-arrange Bill Clinton's brilliant answer to the pro-life right.

Abortion rare? How can they argue with that? Isn't that what they want?
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moggie12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 01:10 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. That's an excellent post
Edited on Fri Jan-28-05 01:11 PM by moggie12
The "anti" framework is very effective. It plays on people's fears and dislikes rather than asking people to all agree on something positive. (It's like life in general: It very easy to criticize but it's hard to come up with solutions.)

Hmmmm, I gotta think about that some more.
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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 01:16 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. I think you've got it!
It's appears easier to build concensus around what you don't want....cause it doesn't address what one would want as an alternative....so one doesn't even have to come up with a solution...but instead can attack the problem.

It's kind of like asking a question on DU....would you want Lieberman to run again in 2008? You will get a majority agreeing that they don't want him to run.....

But you could not get that same percentage (who don't think he should run) agreeing on who it is that should run.
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moggie12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 02:20 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. That's very true _ DU is an excellent example of the principle
Now we've figured out why we keep losing elections -- who do we tell??!!
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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 01:21 PM
Response to Reply #2
8. You are right....Dems do need to take control....
And my post is asking how can they? What's the approach? There's got to be a change in how we do this....and looking at the Repugs apparent success may be the key!
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qwghlmian Donating Member (768 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 01:21 PM
Response to Original message
7. That's a very good
analysis of the situation. You summed it up.

There are two version of "golden rule". One is Christian. The other is Jewish.

Christian version: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Jewish version: "Do not do unto others as you would not have them do unto you."

I think the second one is a much more ethical one. There is a relation, I think, between these and what you're talking about.
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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 01:33 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. Yes I see the relation....
of negative vs. positive framing.

I think Dems prefer to be positive and optimistic.....but whether it is working, I don't think so.
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HoosierClarkie Donating Member (504 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 01:34 PM
Response to Original message
10. At a local dem meeting last night we
were trying to think of a mission statement for our party so that we are all on the same page. I think you are on to something. It is much harder to have everyone agree on what they "do" want versus a consensus for what we do "not" want. For example: "Dems don't want to spread more anti-americanism throughout the world from our actions." That way we are framing the debate and not the Repubs.

Great idea FrenchieCat!
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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 02:21 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. It is unfortunate that
what I said may be so true.

And, yes......I will be taking my own message back to my Democratic Club.

We can't get past them if we truly don't understand their methods. I think too many Democrats turn their nose up at using GOP tactic to our advantage.

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JohnOneillsMemory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 03:28 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. You are right. Fear, hate, brownshirting...simple, primal. 'Common Enemy'
motivation in a complicated world. As we both know from the recent go-around on WesClark that you and I participated in about a complex character in a complex world, it is easier to speak of heroes and villians, red vs. blue, saints vs. sinners, Dem v. Repub.

I attempted (sadly inadequately since all those threads were locked as 'disruptive old news') to discern a unifying pattern of oil-based power politics in American foreign policy and indications of only one party, the Power Party, that tag-teams visible leaders in and out of public view.

But that got lost in the complexities and 'seeming contradictions!! or obvious consistencies!!' of actions, associations, and words all signifying...something.

Imperfect attempts to illuminate or hypothesize lead rapidly to heated words, another victim of the info-war psy-op culture that we are immersed in that leads to 'with us or against us.'

>>>>>>But WE CAN'T EVEN VOTE ANYMORE. BBV has eliminated any point in distinguishing who the damn players are. That is issue #1 if tyranny is to be rolled back and civic culture resuscitated.

Examining the power of words and perceptions is useful in case we ever get the vote back but for now...the levers of consequence of knowing anything have been carefully broken in the invisible software of electronic voting machines.

The desire for a King/Lord/Father/Fuhrer is the motivational force in our CIA/Media/Corporate-controlled culture of fabricated hopes and fears. Hitler used this and the neo-cons are, too. In fact, this has been the key tactic of governance in this country for over 60 years.

Keep thinking about this, FrenchieCat, and I will, too. Maybe we can figure it out in time to change this dire situation.
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BootinUp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 03:36 PM
Response to Original message
14. This is the kind of stuff our candidates need to be
doing, learning etc. I wonder if you could send this to the DNC or some think tank kind of thing Frenchie? Very insightful.
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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 03:56 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. I'm going to send it to Brazile.....
because although I agree with very little of what she has to say, she tends to be a provocator....and this is certainly a provocative message. In addition, she always responds to emails that I send (as well as that of others).

I will also send it to columnists Krugman and Herbert over at the NYT, Matt Miller (author of the 2% solution) and Media Matters. They might end up thinking about it enough to incorporate into their own message....one way or another, if they see it as I tell it.

I can't really think of anyone else to send it to....considering that the DNC can kiss my ass until further notice.

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moggie12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 08:17 PM
Response to Reply #15
19. Donna Brazile responds to your e-mails??
That's amazing. You must write good stuff to her...
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Donna Zen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 07:14 PM
Response to Reply #19
25. Always
DB reponds to mine too.
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JohnOneillsMemory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 04:41 PM
Response to Original message
16. How about rehabilitating national identity by fighting fire with fire?
(This was my response to Will Pitt's response that 'winning is more important than being right' over in the 'What is your most unpopular view on DU?-thread.)

Either/or is a self-defeating definition of choices.
How much compromise with fascists before you end up holding THEIR leash?

Liberals need to "be right" AND "win" at the same time or win battles while losing the war.


Can the 'truth' be heard by ears poisoned with Orwellified propaganda?

YES. By speaking to the primal emotions around 'morality' the Repubs have been speaking while secretly committing atrocities.

My answer: Rehabilitate the deepest ingrained beliefs about national identity, don't deny them and be dismissed as immoral and irrelevant.

Instead of trying to back up 358 degrees to explain how civic morality has been Orwellified into fascism, push forward 2 degrees to manifest the better nation already embedded in our national identity.

I see these 'framing' repairs working and being heard.

Examples:
1)Bad-
'America is White Hat Sheriff Using Bombs and Torture on Bad Guys'

>>Restoration-America's White Hat comes from abiding by laws in the Bill of Rights and Constitution and Geneva Conventions and UN Charter.

2)Bad-
'America is God's Chosen Few Smiting Evil-doers and Lazy Poor'

>>Restoration-Promote the New Deal as the teachings of Jesus.
America embodies Jesus' Beatitudes and the Statue of Liberty's open-armed compassionate morality of The Strong Protecting and Feeding the Weak and Poor, NOT the Strong PREYING on the Weak. This is the way to undue the Reagan-era meme that cash=virtue and get back to the populism of unions=community.

Our social progess has been driven back through the 1960s all the way to the 1930s. We need to better describe the eugenics of fascism that people recognized back then and who fascists are and how they operate.

If I were George Lakoff, I'd call this 'The Woody Guthrie Project.'
Themesong: 'This Land is Your Land'
(WesClark used this, right? It was a good idea.)
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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 08:54 PM
Response to Reply #16
21. I certainly agree with one of your sentiments in particular
Edited on Fri Jan-28-05 08:54 PM by FrenchieCat
Liberals need to "be right" AND "win" at the same time or win battles while losing the war.

And I do believe that we can be right and still do as suggested. It's really a matter of approach, not neccessarily changing the overarching message.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 07:38 PM
Response to Original message
18. Very interesting thoughts, Frenchie!!
I'd never thought about it this way before, and I completely agree the "don't want" messages are very powerful. (Notice how often Republicans like to chide Democrats for being "negative" and insist we should be well-mannered and "positive."... It's their favorite free advice -- they win with the negative.)

Also, reaching back to some dusty memories of college, I seem to recall that experiments on "operant conditioning" (Skinner rats) showed aversion to pain is a stronger motivator than seeking pleasure. So that would go right along with what you're saying.

Thanks for the food for thought!!
:thumbsup:
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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 08:50 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. You are welcome.....
Edited on Fri Jan-28-05 08:51 PM by FrenchieCat
as you know. Again, I will get this idea off to those I have mentioned. I do think that it at least needs to be a part of our hardware in our tool kit of possibilities. We need all of the F*cking help we need if we want to regain power.

There won't be any revolution anytime soon....so changing tactics is our only option for the time being.

Once we get back in power....we can change things....but I fear, that for now, we are lost at sea....and need to ride the wave back to shore.
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sundancekid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 04:51 PM
Response to Reply #18
22. eggsactly! and most motivation research (inc. political) shows
that people will DEFINITELY engage more deeply and more frequently when they think they are saving/sparing themselves FROM something (think anti-gay alone and we're almost there)-- it's the appeal to the most primal instinct: survival (just like their effective mantra of terra! terra! terra!)

:hi:
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meow2u3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 06:05 PM
Response to Original message
23. We don't want... (you asked for it--you got it)
We don't want government prying in our private lives.

We don't want big business telling us what we can or can't do on our own time. What makes big corporations think they own their employees? I thought slavery was illegal and unconstitutional!

We don't want to become slaves to big corporations. This is exactly what right-to-work (read: union busting) laws do.

We don't want to freeze to death in our homes because energy companies have a license to steal from us by charging exorbitant prices for gas, electricity, and/or heating oil.

We don't want to be forced out of our jobs because CEO's figure they can jack up profits by giving our jobs--to which we're entitled--to foreign slaves.

We don't want our tax dollars misspent to bankroll a stealth propaganda campaign trying to sell us the notion that what's good for Wall Street pirates is good for America.

We don't want our Constitution shit on by this gang of criminals better known as the neocon wing of the Republican party.

We don't want our seniors being put out in the streets to fend for themselves because Republicans want to let rich criminals steal their pension with impunity.

WE DON'T WANT TO LIVE IN FEAR UNDER A DIABOLICAL DICTATOR!!!
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moggie12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 07:54 PM
Response to Reply #23
26. mind if I play with your list a bit?
Except this time making the statements into a fire-breathing speech a Democratic politician could give:


Democrats don't want to see your Social Security savings frittered away by fees and transaction costs and subjected to the whims of day-traders: Americans should have retirement nest eggs that no one can take away from them.

Democrats don't want American companies that ship jobs overseas paying less taxes than companies that hire hard-working Americans: Americans have a right to expect that their government will do what's right to protect and defend their jobs.

Democrats don't want to see the lack of catastrophic health insurance adding to the burden of families struck by serious illnesses: Hard-working Americans shouldn't have to go broke paying off huge medical bills.





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cally Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 02:23 PM
Response to Original message
27. Very insightful
I think this is important. It is easier to explain what you don't want.

I don't want tax giveaways to big campaign donors.

I don't want bad air so my kids have asthma and the elderly can't leave their homes.

I don't want water that I'm afraid to drink.

I don't want the local swimming hole or beach closed.

I don't want a draft.

I don't want servicemembers and innocents dying for an unjust war. I don't want to go to war for oil.

I don't want to attack other countries.

I don't want children to dye or go hungry.

I don't want the govenment telling me what medical procedures I can have.
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