Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Massaging the Message

My friend, David Greenberg, has a piece in the WaPo about how better spin and communication strategy isn't Trump's problem; Trump's problem is that he is not a good president.  He uses historical examples of president's who were considered media wizards until they weren't.  And they weren't because reality will ultimately overwhelm the spin.

The converse in some ways is true.  Since both 2010 and 2016, Democrats have fretted endlessly about how to either activate more core voters or flip WWC voters.  The assumption is that messaging will make a huge difference.  As David points out, reality overwhelms spin.  Democrats didn't win in 2006 and 2008 because their messaging improved, no matter how much you love the Obama videos.  If Obama was a great messenger - and he is - why did Democrats lose control of the House in 2010?

They lost because the economy was still quite bad and people were suspicious of Obamacare.  In other words, they won because they had the negative message on their side.  In effect, the same thing happened in 2016, the negative message sort of won out over the policy message.  Some of this is because Republican voters are more in tune with negative messaging - "government is bad," "blacks are bad," "Mexican Muslims are scary" - but it's also true for Democrats.

Being in opposition means being in opposition.  Yes, Democrats should have a platform to run on, but before 2020, they won't have a predominant spokesman to deliver it.  Instead, it absolutely makes sense to harp on Trump and the Republican's many shortcomings.  It works.

No comments: