Give Them A Reason To Vote Against Something
by Deacon Blues
I’ve noted a rash of teeth-gnashing amongst the MSNBC and center-left media crowd over the last several days about the Hillary Clinton pile-on from the right wing attack machine, as well as a good deal of concern about Gallup’s latest poll on the 2014 “enthusiasm gap” between the parties. Specifically, progressives are appalled that Karl Rove and the rest of the Right Wing Smear Squad are attacking Hillary already on everything, and are just as alarmed that Republicans have somewhat greater enthusiasm for voting this fall amongst registered voters than Democrats do.
Really, you're surprised at all of this? First off, those of us who know the GOP also knew that Rove and the rest of the attack machine were expected to set the narrative early against Hillary out of desperation and fear. She will be blamed for everything, and she will be smeared, get used to it. The best course of action for Hillary is to immediately employ a "Tier One" and "Tier Two" strategy, whereby she stays above the fray and on a positive, forward-looking tone in Tier One, and only acknowledges the attacks with derision, like "I'm really surprised they haven't blamed me yet for global warming." She then should let several Tier Two groups do the counter-punching and fact-checking, with outright mockery of all accusers.
As for concerns over any enthusiasm gap this fall, Democratic operatives need to step out of their cocoon about voters' behavior and accept one cold hard reality that Republicans have known for years: it is easier to drive people to the polls in a midterm election to vote against something than it is to make them vote for something. The GOP has no problem stirring up their sheeple to go to the polls to vote against gays, blacks, anyone who isn't like them, just as Democrats had no problem getting their midterm voters to vote against Bush and Iraq in 2006. Yet Democrats approach midterms lately with the false notion that they can compete against the "vote against something" mentality by getting their voters to come out and vote for immigration reform, voting rights, gay marriage, a minimum wage increase, gender equality, Obamacare, whatever. Guess what, you can't, not in an off-year.
The only way for Democrats to get their voters out this fall is the same way the GOP does, give Democrats and independents something or someone to vote against. The GOP plays "victim" politics all the time, and Democrats should not be shy about telling their voters and independents that they are victims of GOP extremism, stupidity, class warfare, corporate preference over people, and yes, discrimination. There should be no shyness about Democrats personalizing this in House races against individual GOP opponents, and blasting those GOP Senate candidates as just another vote for wrecking this country.
When it comes to Republicans, Democrats should simply admit they now hope for the best but assume the worst.