|Mask of Sanity|
It is not that young voters are enamored of the Democratic Party. They simply dislike the Republican Party more. In the focus group research conducted in January 2013, the young “winnable” Obama voters were asked to say what words came to mind when they heard “Republican Party.” The responses were brutal: closed-minded, racist, rigid, old-fashioned.
When all of Congress has an approval rating barely hovering above a single digit, the thought that one party is disliked more than another carries little weight. Unless, of course, your plan is to make voters dislike the other party more only for the self-serving reason of being in power.
When someone purchases a product, in some ways they are buying into the value system espoused by the brand. With a list of attributes like that, who would want to buy the product the GOP is selling?
Yes, but this report does not address changing the product.
Respondents were given a long list of positive options, including some words that conventional wisdom would suggest are highly important to this generation: tolerant, cool, creative, unique. Yet the results did not suggest this is a generation that wants to be seen as cool, or adventurous, or creative.
Instead, they want to be thought of as smart.
Asked which words least described the GOP, respondents gravitated toward “open-minded” (35%), “tolerant” (25%), “caring” (22%), and “cooperative” (21%). Theoretically, the good news in all of this is that while the Republican Party’s negative brand is being driven heavily by a perceived lack of open-mindedness and caring, the other brand attributes that matter to young people – intelligence, a strong work-ethic, and competence – are not out of reach and are certainly up for grabs. Respondents were also asked what they thought of the Democratic Party. Just as the Republican Party loses on the “open-minded” attribute, the Democrats win it with 33% of respondents saying the word best describes the Democratic Party. This is followed by “tolerant” at 26%. Of note, 14% of young voters say they think of the Democratic Party as “intelligent” – the same proportion that see the Republican Party that way.
This doesn’t just mean putting up a Facebook page and calling it a day. This means having a campaign website that is seamlessly accessed from a mobile device, that encourages supporters to text in their support, that is optimized to get a message across to the girl at the gym listening to Pandora on her headphones and the guy watching clips of last night’s Daily Show on his iPad. It means really studying the shows that young people are watching and occasionally buying some TV time there, or at least buying advertising time on Hulu and other streaming video sources. Most importantly, it means creating online content that is interesting, funny, or positive, and that makes someone want to share it with their friends because it makes them seem interesting and funny. As young voters increasingly distrust campaign advertising, finding ways to get supporters to put their “seal of approval” on a video or post by sharing and retweeting is essential to giving your message the credibility that will let you change minds.
Coming soon to an online site near you. Republican Party members "As Seen On Fox". They're smart. They're intelligent. They're brainy. They're brilliant. They are sheer genius. So vote for them today before their Voter ID laws prevent you from doing so.
Yet across all six groups, when the topic turned to future leaders of the parties, the GOP was clearly in a stronger position. Asked to name up-and-coming Republican stars, these young Obama voters could point to a number of examples. Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Bobby Jindal, and Rand Paul were all mentioned.
Sterling examples of the Republican Party.
Here's an image headscratcher closer to home:
The Voter Bill of Rights forbids corporations to have communication with elected officials in anything but a public meeting when discussing legislation...Currently, two city councilmembers own their own corporations. Would they still be able to talk to their fellow councilmembers? Good government relies on more communication, not less."
On the contrary, good government obligates elected officials to avoid conflicts of interest. That restriction includes not conducting private business on government time and, yes, may mean avoiding any role confusion by discussing legislation that may provide private benefit only in a public setting. Here, councilmembers are arguing they should have better access for their private corporate concerns than average Joe and Jane. Whatever the merits (or not) of the Voters Bill of Rights, these conservatives have defined defeat of the initiative as also a defeat for even the most basic ethics limitations we learned in ninth grade civics class. They've upped the ante.
Who are these ultraconservatives seeking to open the council to even more unchecked corporate influence and burnish their corporatist image in the media and among business elites?
Kid you not.
Secret corporate access appears to be a Democratic national strategy. For example, read what you can of Obama's covert fast track of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, in clear violation of the Constitution.
You have to wonder how engaged young Obama voters will feel about Obama and corporations unilaterally imposing SOPA without debate, and behind a mask. Or, having already doubled health insurance premiums for young people, also allowing PHARMA to further increase drug costs through the TPP. Not to mention new government incentives to offshore jobs. At some point young people have to look beyond the handsome face.
The Democrats' secret, wholesale sellout to corporations makes the GOP's rebranding look almost endearing.
Although Congress has exclusive constitutional authority to set the terms of trade, so far the executive branch has managed to resist repeated requests by members of Congress to see the text of the draft agreement and has denied requests from members to attend negotiations as observers — reversing past practice.
While the agreement could rewrite broad sections of nontrade policies affecting Americans’ daily lives, the administration also has rejected demands by outside groups that the nearly complete text be publicly released. Even the George W. Bush administration, hardly a paragon of transparency, published online the draft text of the last similarly sweeping agreement, called the Free Trade Area of the Americas, in 2001.
There is one exception to this wall of secrecy: a group of some 600 trade “advisers,” dominated by representatives of big businesses, who enjoy privileged access to draft texts and negotiators.
The AP reports this morning that Democratic officials are routinely using secret email accounts and pseudonyms to conduct official business, and then refusing FOIAs:
"If we have the right people in office, working together to consider all citizens, we can work for collaborative solutions that give our region the best chance to move forward."
But how can voters judge whether our elected and appointed officials are the "right people" if the officials can hide what they are doing? How can we know whether citizens (or corporations) are getting heard if the business of government is increasingly secret? How can we judge outcomes if the officials and corporations narrow the debate on options long before the public is told anything?
Pseudonyms are deeply objectionable to many commentators here when used by average citizens.
One commenter even claimed civic discourse was impossible without known identies. He also called such commentators "turds." In a civil fashion, of course.
OK, to each their own. No offense. But where are these self-righteous finger-waggers when Democratic officials hide behind secrecy or false names?
Why the double standard? Particularly given that secrecy of official actions is often illegal, and not protected as First Amendment political speech.
Bush and Obama have turned democracy on its head.
When governments rely on excessive and illegal secrecy, democracy's only hope of survival is leaks.
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