1: Public opinion can be shifted. Think of strategies and stunts that could do that. The atmosphere started with the public fairly positive to Obama’s plans. But the wingnut Republicans started shouting at meetings and talking about ‘death panels’. At this point most liberals though – hah, this will never work. The public will see through how absurd this is‘. Wrong. People thought ‘no smoke without fire’ instead, and public opinion started shifting against Obama.
2. Facts don’t always work. Emotion does. And the media always follow a circus. Exploit that to your advantage.
Following on from above – the left thought that the public would never buy the idea of ‘death panels’ or the people who turned up to townhalls with assault rifles. But people are influenced by their fellow citizens getting angry over something. And the media follows the circus – with the result that angry townhalls dominated coverage, and people started thinking all of America was angry at Obama’s healthcare. Result – public opinion shifts.
The point isn’t that you push lies, like Sarah Palin has done. The point is that thinking that just by debunking right-wing nonsense will do the job is not good enough. The media plays the game of ‘journalistic equivalence’, which means that a lying Republican will be offered equal space to someone debunking it. People assume that both are simply two sides of a debate, and they’ll believe with their guts than facts.
3. Don’t defend the status quo even if you want to retain it. Go on the offensive. Obama should have said that healthcare is broken, and that insurance companies were fleecing people. He started off by telling people they could keep what they had, instead of telling them they were paying too much for healthcare. Bad strategy.
4. Discipline on your side is necessary, and so is a clear message. Keep repeating the basic message. Those who want nuance can find it.
The Democrat Blue Dogs should have been taken outside and shot. I kid, only half-heartedly. If the bill doesn’t get passed it will be thanks to conservative Democrats who don’t realise it will kill their re-election chances too. Obama should have forced discipline from day one rather than letting everyone pile in.
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Filed in: Current affairs,United States