I know that nearly all here want this presidential race to be decided upon issues that face us circa 2008.
However, nearly ALL the research done supports Rick Davis' claim that issues will not decide this election because the fact is - and Drew Westen and George Lakoff would back this up - MOST people vote for the person to be President of the United States, NOT because of a laundry list of issues.
Not fundamentally understanding that costs us Presidential elections.
An image I have used to describe this is a stadium setting: on one half are the Democrats waving their arms and saying to the public which is watching "Look over here at our issues arena!". On the other side of the same stadium we have the Republicans beating up and attacking our Democratic candidates personally, tagging them with a negative identity. What are our candidates doing as they get beat up and tagged? Pretty much historically, they've stood still and let the Republicans beat up on them and let themselves get tagged.
As much as people say they don't like watching or listening to negative campaigns....it is the same as driving by an accident...you watch it. You watch it and listen to it with a kind of horrified attention.
You wait to see the Democrats fight back, you want the Democrats to fight back, but too many Presidential election cycles have shown us that Democratic candidates don't fight back, and by then no-one pays attention to to the other half of that stadium where the Democrats feel comfortable discussing issues. Pretty soon the people in that stadium are saying to themselves and each other:"Those guys are wimps for not fighting back, until they fight back, I don't want to hear what they have to say".
The way to combat this quadrennial fight in the political arena that has been occurring with amazing regularity is to:
When the Democrats have finished beating up the Republicans in that Republican arena, THEN drag their sorry asses back into the issues arena where WE DEMOCRATS feel comfortable and taunt them and say :Now that we are in OUR ARENA, let's discuss what really matters to that audience watching.
By then you'll have grabbed the attention of everyone. And earned their respect for fighting back.
Once you have their respect the people will listen. You lose their respect when you don't defend yourself.
Joe Biden did an excellent job yesterday when he conjured up an image of a high school smart ass who has nothing but quips and tagged the Republicans with it saying "They have nothing else"
I want to hear MORE of that.
Drew Westen's book "Political Brain" spoke exactly to this general election phenomenon I have described.
George Lakoff correctly identified in his book "Thinking Points", Richard Wirthlin as the Republican strategist for Ronald Reagan who first discovered why people voted for Reagan despite not agreeing with Reagan on issue after issue. Wirthlin's discovery? People vote for entirely personal reasons about the candidate. The Republicans have burned this into their DNA. Rick Davis has merely stripped away the veneer that Republicans still pretend to care about issues. They care about preserving the status quo and about furthering inequality. That's all.
They've learned how to win.
We've researched how they win.
The research has been done.
We ignore the findings at our peril.