Foregoing Persuasion

This is what I fear will happen: Democrats will embrace a strategy that will appeal to the screeching Twitterbots because they are easy to excite and don’t require anything by way of intellectual arguments. This is what’s being suggested in the NYTIMES this morning:

Do the Math. Moderate Democrats Will Not Win in 2020. . .

Clearly success required a different strategy. Ms. Abrams and Mr. Gillum embraced the Obama playbook for winning elections: It starts with emphasizing mobilization over persuasion.

In other words, bring out the easily excitable who are content with any dumb meme about Nazis, totalitarianism, or apocalypse and won’t ask you to argue a case, any case. Who needs to have positions and policy when you can just scream like a banshee?

I’m sure the strategy will be a winning one, in the sense that it will bring seats. But it’s a victory in a competition over who screams more loudly. It’s meaningless.

It’s also kind of offensive that the author believes this strategy will work because the country “gets browner by the hour.” This is obviously a reference to non-white Hispanic voters, and it bothers me that anybody would suggest that non-white Hispanics are somehow dumber than white folks and don’t want to hear persuasive arguments because you supposedly can attract them with screaming and screeching. This is a very old stereotype that Hispanics are superficial, excitable, and hence a perfect foil to rile up, use, and discard.

The seeming openness and light-heartedness of Latin Americans is a mask that conceals a profound sadness at the core of the culture. Just look at the history of Latin America, and you’ll get it. Hispanic people are complex, there is an enormous variety among them, they are not a monolithic group. Deciding that they are too superficial to need persuading is a big, big mistake.


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