Smarmy Alligator

Politics, pop culture, and self-deprecation

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Christopher Hayes’s article on undecided voters is both funny and painful. But the most significant point comes at the very end, after he’s revealed just how little connection people have with politics, and how separate they believe it is from their lives. He writes,

As far as I can tell, this leaves Democrats with two options: either abandon

“issues” as the lynchpin of political campaigns and adopt the language of

values, morals, and character as many have suggested; or begin the long-term and

arduous task of rebuilding a popular, accessible political vocabulary–of

convincing undecided voters to believe once again in the importance of issues.

The former strategy could help the Democrats stop the bleeding in time for 2008.

But the latter strategy might be necessary for the Democrats to become a

majority party again.

This is not even a question in my mind, and the former suggestion not an option. Adopting non-policy-based language just to get candidates elected directly contradicts any efforts to seriously re-engage citizens in politics, and re-create that political language Hayes is talking about.

People were more engaged in politics, and shared a common language and understanding of how policy fit into their lives, up until the last twenty years or so. It is not impossible, although it’s not easy, to bring this engagement back. But it’s worth it, and if we allow the degeneracy of politics the Republicans have instituted to continue, with our blessing and collusion, it will just become harder.


Written by laura k

November 17, 2004 at 6:53 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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