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elocs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:12 PM
Original message
The Partisan Brain.
I realize this is an old story, but Minnesota Public Radio just had a program on about it. The gist of it seems to be that Republicans use emotions, both positive and negative. Reagan had the feel- good enthusiasm and Bush has fear. Democrats use reason and reasoned arguments. Kerry could give what, to all but his supporters, long winded and well reasoned arguments in which he could present both sides and then why you should support his belief. The problem would seem to be in MRI studies of the brain is that it is the emotional appeal that works. Republicans use emotional marketing while Democrats tend to present logical and well thought out arguments. If the point is to get elected, why use tactics which are unsuccessful? Emotional appeals can be honest and legitimate and do not have to necessarily be negative. We are, after all, living in the tv generation and your average American is not prepared or patient enough to sift through a detailed and reasoned debate and presentation on the stances on the issues.

Here is a link to a story from CBS earlier this year: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/11/20/opinion/meyer...

It is an interesting read. Here is a snip:

"According to Arthur Brooks, a professor at the business school at Syracuse University, the number of partisan brains is increasing. And they may be becoming more partisan; more precisely, they seem to hate their opponents more.

Specifically, Brooks studied polling collected by the one of the biggest and most important ongoing demographic surveys, the General Social Survey. Since 1972, the percentage of self-described "extreme liberals" and extreme conservatives has increased dramatically.

In 1972, even though the country was heated up over Nixon and Vietnam, only 4.9 percent described themselves as either extremely liberal or extremely conservative. That rose to 6.6 percent in 2004, an increase of about one-third. Though the baseline percentage is small, a 30 percent increase still potentially effects a couple of million votes.

Interestingly, the percentage of extreme liberals in these surveys grew far more than extreme conservatives, from 2.3 percent in '72 (Nixon) to 3.6 percent in '04 (Bush II)."

It may be heartening to learn that the number of liberals has grown, but ultimately this study shows that our brains all work pretty much the same. We are just as quick to dismiss the contradictions of our own candidates and the Republicans are of theirs. The thinking of both sides appears to both be black and white. Notice in the CBS article what it says about "personal demonization".

I don't know what the ultimate answer may be. I do think that if Democrats want to get elected, which is the point, they need to make their appeals more emotional and passionate. Our last two presidential candidates would certainly have benefited from having some passion about what they believed that was clearly and demonstrably presented to the American public. We cannot always depend upon waiting for the Republicans to self destruct.









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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:25 PM
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1. I agree. I think rational facts have emotional content and we
shouldn't be ashamed to emphasize that.

I think the ideal information selects a few strategic facts, provides rational context for them, but illustrates and expands on them with emotional examples.
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