Political Base.

Today I just want to talk a little about the way politics in a two party system work.

It came to me that this was a useful conversation because in a political conversation a friend told me that we could never get rid of candidate A, because their base wasn’t going to change their collective minds.

I almost gave up right then and there. Why bother even thinking about it then, right? Let alone trying to express points based on my values and ideas. Its a total waste of time.

Except it is not. The thing is, public perception and thought are in constant flux and the sharing of ideas that we have is part of the gift of humanity and it is how we have come so far in the time since we left the tree tops and caves.

That our system works on two party politics, and one base being stalwart in its views doesn’t change that. In fact, I think that both bases are pretty consistent in their make up, and that neither controls the outcome very frequently…and when they do the pendulum usually comes back the other way hard and fast.

Here is why.

Everything exists on a spectrum. In politics you tend to have one side that is conservative (simply defined as those resistant to change for simplicity today) and another that is progressive (the polar opposite. Early adapters and people who want to try things good and bad).

Just like any other bell curve, the vast majority of people exist somewhere in the middle, with the greatest concentration being in the center.

The core base of each side adopts new issues as time moves on, but it does not move from its own archetype. That center moves with public perception. That perception is guided by world events, their own experiences, and the influence of thought leaders all along the spectrum.

Currently the situation is this. The power resides with what is considered the conservative side, but the momentum of public thought is pulling towards the progressive.

The hand wringing is because the conservative thought leader du jour has a very strong cult of personality surrounding him, and the progressives can’t seem to break his grip on the masses.

I hold the idea that the hand wringing is not necessary, because that grip doesn’t need to be broken to win, and will let go once he loses power.

The reason the super conservative grip doesn’t need to be broken for progressives to win, is that it is an impressive (and depressing when you consider the current values conservatives are holding onto) 30% or so…. and NOT a majority. They are not the minds that need changed in order to bring the country back onto a more progressive path. No the major groups whose minds have to be changed are the top 10 to 15 percent of progressives at the end of the spectrum, and the 40 percent or people who find themselves making different votes in most elections…the swing voters as it were.

First we look at the 10 to 15 percent on the tip of the progressive spear. The understanding that they need to reach, is that while they are absolutely pulling the country in (what I think is) the right direction…they are miles ahead of the curve, and in order to achieve their long term goals of bettering the country they will need to vote a little below their aspirations. Sure, it would be nice if our system were an Athenian dreamland where we all lived our best lives and we were focused on expressing ourselves and the development of our society. We all know that we are a long way off from that. In order to get there, we have to move in stages. That means voting for 75% or better candidates. Voting third party, not voting, or voting for the current leader in protest will retard the progress we collectively are trying to make. And frankly we cannot afford that.

Also, tearing down 75% candidates because they will not buy you ice cream… is a good way to not get dinner, because the 25 percent candidate that the other side is offering wants to starve you. (mostly figuratively…but arguments can be made for literally as well)

Then we have the 40 percent in the middle. On any given day, you can safely assume that they are split down the middle in their beliefs, and their interest level and commitment are the same. However, those three things do not necessarily intersect.

The goal of every progressive should be to share our ideas with the people who fall into this category. We should share them politely and without hostility. We should emphasize the advantages of our ideas over  more conservative viewpoints. We should speak to them from their perspectives, and about their problems and how our ideas solve them….or at least improve the situation rather than the status quo of making it worse.

We should also be pointing out how each and every move the current administration is making completely screws the country. Facts are on our side, so don’t get sensational. Just tell the truth. From his trade policies to his disrespect of the rule of law to immigration to the fact he doesn’t even have a functional cabinet at this point….everything this leader is doing is trashing our nation. Tell people.

That doesn’t mean follow every sensational story about who he humps, or his hair, or any of the noise. Talk about the substance of what he is doing and how it is hurting the person you are talking to. It will work over time, and we have a year and a half to make people see what we see.

Totaling the numbers. He starts with 30% because he has a really solid base. We start with 15-20 % because the  progressive base is a little looser (with broader views). If we capture the full 10-15% of the “edge lords” of the progressive party, we start with the same 30% as him.

That just leaves the 40% in play.

But because we have a electoral college, we not only need to take more than half +1 of that… we need it to be the RIGHT half +5 or so.

That means, we have to spread liberal ideas around the Midwest…and in small towns.

Here is the good news there. Single payer health care is intensely popular. It enjoys not only being the correct way to solve our medical problems in this country, but people get it….and they want it. We have to sell it harder than what the insurance companies are selling. Because they are basically selling a repackaged “fuck you pay me or die” system, this shouldn’t be too hard. But we need to be talking about Medicare for all incessantly. Bore yourself with it.

Other strong issues are education reform (with or without free college), infrastructure repairs, climate change (with every weather event), breaking up the big banks/investment firms, trade policies, economic justice (without making it about race when possible), equality under the law (this is about race and other diversities and we should be loud about it), and immigration reform (with a plan).

The great news is that the current leader is doing a terrible job at all of these. its not hard to compare and contrast.

Two things to shut the fuck up about.

Guns and abortions. It is time to just shut up about both of these. I know they matter and everyone has strong (visceral even) emotions about them. Here is the reality.

The balance of the courts is still not completely fucked and the conservatives are not going to make headway against Roe V Wade until they are. If you give them another 4 years in the Presidency, THAT WILL CHANGE. That is the only reason we are seeing this flurry of laws raging against abortion. They want to make it a campaign issue so the people who are morally opposed to abortion will vote against all of their other interests in order to keep others from making their own decisions. If you keep the conversation about abortion a significant portion of the 40 percent (especially in those midwestern towns where we need votes) will stay home, or vote for the other side.

As for guns, most people agree that we need some serious common sense reforms, but not enough to sway the election. Talking about it now will not speed up the opportunity to make it happen. Talking about it now  will cost votes. That issue alone costs Dems more midwestern votes than anything else said…. so leave it alone. It is that simple.

So lets win on the issues that work….and leave those that don’t.

We will get to Athens over time….just not tomorrow.

I know I went off course, but I am going to leave it. My strategizing for the Democratic party illustrates what I was trying to say about the two party system and how to play the numbers to make progress. And why the 30 percent base the other side controls really doesn’t matter. It is very beatable.

Share this:
Follow me here!

About Robb

A husband, Dad to 5, and Grandpa to 9. US Navy Vet. 18 Year Postal Employee turned full time Realtor. I enjoy a wide variety of things, but you will find that here I mostly write about Indianapolis, government/politics, recent news, and whatever book I am reading or have just finished at the moment.
This entry was posted in Government, politics, Single Payer Health Care, US Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.