This guy gets it. In fact, this is probably the best essay on political strategy I have ever read. Mr Horowitz has put his finger on the problem.
One of my former ACT Party colleagues likes to say that “you should never get emotional in politics, and once you do, you’ve lost”. But politics is all about emotions. If it was about facts and rationality, the Left would never get anyone elected.
Progressives’ hatred for conservatives is thus not a reaction to a particular issue, or a particular slip of the tongue. It is a hatred for what conservatives are. Conservatives are people who believe in limited government. By its very nature, limited government means the death of progressive dreams. In progressive eyes, conservatives and Republicans actually are anti-woman, anti-minority, and anti-poor. Republicans oppose the very idea that government should function as a social savior.
Republicans are reactionary and hateful because they stand in the way of a society that can and should care for every man, woman and child from cradle to grave. Republicans take a view of politics that is fundamentally different. Republicans do not aspire to change the world. They want to repair systems that are broken. They are not missionaries, and they are not selling a land of dreams. Such practical agendas do not inspire them to despise their opponents or regard them as evil. Republicans think of their opponents as mistaken about how to fix particular problems.
Because Republicans are mindful of the past, they are uncertain about the future, and therefore wary of impossible dreams. They hope for a future better than the present but they are mindful that things could be even worse. Many problems are intractable and will not go away. Because this is their attitude, conservative emotions can never be as inflamed as their progressive opponents’.
Their instinct is to come up with practical plans and explain how specific problems might be solved. That is why they reach for facts and arguments, and spend a lot of time explaining things to voters. But voters have already been told not to trust their arguments because they are the arguments of enemies of women, children, minorities and the middle class.
The only way to confront the emotional campaign that Democrats wage in every election is through an equally emotional campaign that puts the aggressors on the defensive; that attacks them in the same moral language, identifying them as the bad guys, the oppressors of women, children, minorities and the middle class, that takes away from them the moral high ground which they now occupy. You can’t confront an emotionally based moral argument with an intellectual analysis. Yet this is basically and almost exclusively what Republicans do.
At the end of the day Leftists just don’t make us mad enough. They should. I’ve always hated most of those fuckers for how they destroy countries and livelihoods and call it “moral”, and with them the establishment media who refuse to call them out. And if you are any kind of political activist with any care for the working poor then you should too. We need to go mediaeval on their asses.
ADDED: I should say that the Republicans used to be really good at this stuff. They used to push the buttons in the right way. When Bush won in 2004, and Newt and co took congress in 1994, it was because they ran a “heart” campaign based on pushing “hope and fear”, and pigeon-holing their opponents. What happened? It seems like those lessons were lost. They need to be relearned.