One fundamental problem Democrats have is that we think that telling the truth matters in politics. If we lay out our priorities to people and explain them, it will make sense to them. This is flawed and Republicans know it. Take one Ted Cruz.
You know what Ds never did with the For the People Act? Messaging telling the broad public (not just elite media consumers) what’s in the bill.
Rs sure did – they said, “This bill lets Ds cheat their way to victory in every election!”
Can’t beat something with nothing. https://t.co/MWxSaAaDxv
— Steve M. (@nomoremister) June 23, 2021
You can say this is Murc’s Law or something. But what is the message here? There’s the secondary problem that moderate Democrats in the Senate don’t actually want many Democratic priorities too. So yeah, that does make messaging difficult. However, no one can deny that someone like Cruz is very good at outright lies to the Republican base, making gaslighting look quaint. I mean, my god. But it doesn’t matter. And this is the entire Republican playbook now. Take the policing issue:
When Minnesota Republican Tyler Kistner announced his candidacy for the U.S. House in April, he asked voters to ponder two questions: “What America will we leave for our children?” and “Will they be taught to hate their police?”
Across the Mississippi River in Wisconsin, Republicans in the 3rd Congressional District aired a digital ad this spring to demand that their Democratic congressman “stand up to attacks on law enforcement.”
And in Iowa, a Republican governor who had promised additional checks on police conduct after George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer plans to sign a law making it harder for police to be sued on the job.
As rising murder rates gain attention in American cities, Republicans have ramped up a misleading campaign to cast Democrats as anti-police and lax on public safety. It’s a message they believe helped them stave off greater Democratic gains in last year’s elections and one with renewed potency as cities consider cuts to department budgets as part of an effort to revamp policing.
Now, this completely failed in the New Mexico congressional special election. But it’s their only play and so they will go with it.
Speaking of such things, remember when Cancel Culture was a thing, like last month. Well, it’s gone now, to be replaced by Critical Race Theory as the scare mongering tool of Republicans. Bari Weiss is going to have to switch it because Republicans have dropped this as an issue faster than they dropped Ebola after the 2014 elections. It’s now all 100% Critical Race Theory. Ron DeSantis is trying to end state funding for schools that have too many left-leaning professors and requiring them to take a survey (the way to handle this is to say that your political beliefs are that the Tsar of Russia should be reinstated or something). DeSantis is going to lie his way to the 24 Republican nomination if Trump doesn’t want it. Of course this is all bullshit, though Matt Yglesias evidently doesn’t think so. Professors aren’t teaching Critical Race Theory. Many aren’t even liberal. But none of this matters. It’s all lies. The question is how you defeat liars at politics. And Democrats aren’t very good at countering lies because they think that truth is something real and that people want. No, I don’t know what to do about this either. But it’s a thing.