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Why wasn't money effective?


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Overall campaign spending in 2020 favored Democrats by $6.9B to $3.8B (CNBC).   A few of those dollars were mine and I'm not thrilled with the results.  I'm glad Biden won the Presidency, but beyond that it's not much good news.  This isn't a 'Citizens United' issue.  Even corporate spending mostly went for Democrats.  It's not an electoral college issue or a gerrymandering issue.  I'm talking about raw votes.  Why didn't donations and spending translate into votes at the expected rate?

 

Usually, I don't ask a question unless I think I have an answer.  But, this really has me stumped.  Having Trump on the ballot should have made Democratic spending more effective than normal.  It wasn't a turnout issue...we set a modern record.

 

Brainstorming, I tried to come up with a few hypotheses:

 

- Poor strategy?   Maybe too much is spent in places that aren't competitive.  Maybe too much is spent on high cost/low reward advertising.

- Inconsistent messaging?   Campaign issues that help candidates in big cities may hurt candidates in swing states.  'Socialists' and 'corporate' Democrats in the same party is hard.

- Lack of leadership?  Leaders need loyal followers.  

- Too many big ideas?  Maybe Democrats proposed too many major changes at the same time. 

 

None of this seems exactly right to me.  I can think of rebuttals to each possibility. 

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The truth is that it never has been that significant. Studies have been done on this. What matters more than anything is narratives. These profligate on social media and mass media. These are areas that conservatives are just far better at, for one single reason: They disregard expertise. That allows them to spin whatever narrative they want without regard for "being correct." It's a massive advantage they have, and something liberals need to reckon with.

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15 hours ago, CarlMenger said:

The truth is that it never has been that significant. Studies have been done on this. What matters more than anything is narratives. These profligate on social media and mass media. These are areas that conservatives are just far better at, for one single reason: They disregard expertise. That allows them to spin whatever narrative they want without regard for "being correct." It's a massive advantage they have, and something liberals need to reckon with.

 

I can see that the importance of money has been overstated in the past.  The correlation of money and winning has occasionally been misinterpreted as causation. 

 

But, why would voters prefer a narrative that's not 'correct'?  

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I think you nailed it with poor strategy and inconsistent messaging.   The DNC wanted this to be a one-issue election, that being "get Trump out of office".   Its actually pretty impressive that they pulled it off.  Somehow right up to election day Biden represented the "generic democrat" that always polls well against an incumbent republican.   

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On 11/23/2020 at 8:13 AM, Butthead said:

I think you nailed it with poor strategy and inconsistent messaging.   The DNC wanted this to be a one-issue election, that being "get Trump out of office".   Its actually pretty impressive that they pulled it off.  Somehow right up to election day Biden represented the "generic democrat" that always polls well against an incumbent republican.   

Well as a donor to Act Blue I can honestly say my main goal was the destruction of trump.   After that nothing else really matter.   I have always considered trump to be worse than the devil himself.  

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On 11/23/2020 at 10:13 PM, Butthead said:

I think you nailed it with poor strategy and inconsistent messaging.   The DNC wanted this to be a one-issue election, that being "get Trump out of office".   Its actually pretty impressive that they pulled it off.  Somehow right up to election day Biden represented the "generic democrat" that always polls well against an incumbent republican.   

 

He gave hints of a progressive agenda, and he said a few things that made people feel like he at least meant well (as opposed to Trump, who does not mean well). But ultimately nobody really believes that Biden is going to do anything really special for them. And by the looks of his cabinet, that appears to be true. I doubt much will change in the next four years.

 

I suspect that after the 2024 election, the US us going to end up with another Trump... if not Trump himself, then possibly someone even worse.

 

 

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1 minute ago, Toldya said:

 

He gave hints of a progressive agenda, and he said a few things that made people feel like he at least meant well (as opposed to Trump, who does not mean well). But ultimately nobody really believes that Biden is going to do anything really special for them. And by the looks of his cabinet, that appears to be true. I doubt much will change in the next four years.

 

I suspect that after the 2024 election, the US us going to end up with another Trump... if not Trump himself, then possibly someone even worse.

 

 

Very few things of consequence ever change, the exception in the last 40 years being ACA.    2024 is going to be a dogfight between what will most likely be populist ideologues on both sides that are both cult of personality types.    Biden is going to have to maintain the status quo for his successor to have any chance at all, IMO.    Get drug into a war or something like that and there will be major backlash against the party.   

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7 minutes ago, Butthead said:

Very few things of consequence ever change, the exception in the last 40 years being ACA.    2024 is going to be a dogfight between what will most likely be populist ideologues on both sides that are both cult of personality types.    Biden is going to have to maintain the status quo for his successor to have any chance at all, IMO.    Get drug into a war or something like that and there will be major backlash against the party.   

 

If the Dems can push the minorities to give them both runoffs and Biden can do something about inequality, then he can win in 2024. It will be the minorities that decide 2024... if they stay home, the GOP will probably end democracy by 2028.

 

It really is just a matter of time before the GOP takes over enough court positions to destroy democracy forever. I know that sounds like hyperbole-- but there was at least one judge that was willing to begin the process of overturning the vote in PA. That means it can be done, and the GOP definitely has the will to do it.

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3 minutes ago, Toldya said:

 

If the Dems can push the minorities to give them both runoffs and Biden can do something about inequality, then he can win in 2024. It will be the minorities that decide 2024... if they stay home, the GOP will probably end democracy by 2028.

 

It really is just a matter of time before the GOP takes over enough court positions to destroy democracy forever. I know that sounds like hyperbole-- but there was at least one judge that was willing to begin the process of overturning the vote in PA. That means it can be done, and the GOP definitely has the will to do it.

Biden won't run again.   There's just no way.   The troubling things for democrats is that minorities started trending right so they are going to have to do something to reverse it.   Its kind of a catch-22 though, because its hard to take back momentum.   Can't really change course but if you stay the course its hard to take credit for it.   For example, I thought Obamas approach to Cuba was the right move but politically it did a ton of damage to the party in Florida.     Does Biden go back to his approach and piss off a pretty important voting segment or leave things as they are and hope people give him credit for it?   

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7 hours ago, Toldya said:

 

He gave hints of a progressive agenda, and he said a few things that made people feel like he at least meant well (as opposed to Trump, who does not mean well). But ultimately nobody really believes that Biden is going to do anything really special for them. And by the looks of his cabinet, that appears to be true. I doubt much will change in the next four years.

 

I suspect that after the 2024 election, the US us going to end up with another Trump... if not Trump himself, then possibly someone even worse.

 

 

 

The cabinet thus far is comprised of outstanding choices--to a person. All people with competence, experience, anf good character.

 

I'm not sure what you are talking about?

 

Bill 

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7 hours ago, crazyhole said:

Biden won't run again.   There's just no way.   The troubling things for democrats is that minorities started trending right so they are going to have to do something to reverse it.   Its kind of a catch-22 though, because its hard to take back momentum.   Can't really change course but if you stay the course its hard to take credit for it.   For example, I thought Obamas approach to Cuba was the right move but politically it did a ton of damage to the party in Florida.     Does Biden go back to his approach and piss off a pretty important voting segment or leave things as they are and hope people give him credit for it?   

 

The only way forward on Cuba--to my mind--if to be constructively engaged. The old exile community is dying off, as are the "revolutionaries" in Cuba. 

 

Cuba will open up, we should be engaged in the transition.

 

Bill

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7 hours ago, crazyhole said:

Very few things of consequence ever change, the exception in the last 40 years being ACA.    2024 is going to be a dogfight between what will most likely be populist ideologues on both sides that are both cult of personality types.    Biden is going to have to maintain the status quo for his successor to have any chance at all, IMO.    Get drug into a war or something like that and there will be major backlash against the party.   

 

Populism is a pox on humanity.

 

We need to keep our party from making the same mistake the GOP made in turning there party over to a cultic demagogue.

 

Populism and liberalism are not compatible.

 

Bill

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1 minute ago, SpyCar said:

 

Populism is a pox on humanity.

 

We need to keep our party from making the same mistake the GOP made in turning there party over to a cultic demagogue.

 

Populism and liberalism are not compatible.

 

Bill

Thats a scary thought.    What you are saying is that liberalism is only compatible with statism.   

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Just now, crazyhole said:

Thats a scary thought.    What you are saying is that liberalism is only compatible with statism.   

 

False dichotomy. Statism isn't the only alternative to populism.

 

In fact, populism like statism is authoritarian in nature. Almost every "statist" authoritarian/totalitarian dictator of note was also a populist. Right?

 

Liberalism thrives by promoting reason.

 

Populism rejects reason in favor of spreading false narratives, fomenting anger, rabble-rousing, promoting irrationality, and putting power in the hands of a demagogue.

 

Bill

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, SpyCar said:

 

False dichotomy. Statism isn't the only alternative to populism.

 

In fact, populism like statism is authoritarian in nature. Almost every "statist" authoritarian/totalitarian dictator of note was also a populist. Right?

 

Liberalism thrives by promoting reason.

 

Populism rejects reason in favor of spreading false narratives, fomenting anger, rabble-rousing, promoting irrationality, and putting power in the hands of a demagogue.

 

Bill

 

 

 

 

No.    Populism and statism are opposites.   One is based on the will of the people and one is based on the will of a few elites.    Either one can be authoritarian, on the populist side that would be a pure democracy and other the other it would be a dictatorship.   The opposite of authoritarianism is libertarianism, which can exist in both a populist or statist environment.   Its basically just the difference between telling people what they can or can't do and leaving them alone.  The 3rd axis is liberal/conservative.    Either can exist in either of the other environments.    You can have a liberal-populist-libertarian (which is what I am) or a liberal-statist-authoritarian (USSR),  or any combination of the 3 metrics.   

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11 hours ago, crazyhole said:

Biden won't run again.   There's just no way.   The troubling things for democrats is that minorities started trending right so they are going to have to do something to reverse it.   Its kind of a catch-22 though, because its hard to take back momentum.   Can't really change course but if you stay the course its hard to take credit for it.   For example, I thought Obamas approach to Cuba was the right move but politically it did a ton of damage to the party in Florida.     Does Biden go back to his approach and piss off a pretty important voting segment or leave things as they are and hope people give him credit for it?   

No reason for Biden not to run again.   Even 10 years from now Joe Biden will be far more competent than trump ever was.   That idiot trump can't even put two complete sentences together.

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15 minutes ago, OneGoodLiberal said:

No reason for Biden not to run again.   Even 10 years from now Joe Biden will be far more competent than trump ever was.   That idiot trump can't even put two complete sentences together.

This kind of statement is where the term TDS comes from.    Trump is over, his story has ended.  Time to move on.   Biden is a placeholder for the next 4 years, after that the party is going to have to choose his successor.  In 2024 it won't have the luxury of running the "generic democrat" candidate like it did this time because there won't be a republican incumbent that is so widely despised.   The party is going to have to figure out where they stand and coalesce pretty quickly because the Republicans already have a lot of momentum.     2024 is going to be about messaging and at this point there really isn't a message coming from the party other than get rid of Trump.   

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59 minutes ago, crazyhole said:

No.    Populism and statism are opposites.   One is based on the will of the people and one is based on the will of a few elites.    Either one can be authoritarian, on the populist side that would be a pure democracy and other the other it would be a dictatorship.   The opposite of authoritarianism is libertarianism, which can exist in both a populist or statist environment.   Its basically just the difference between telling people what they can or can't do and leaving them alone.  The 3rd axis is liberal/conservative.    Either can exist in either of the other environments.    You can have a liberal-populist-libertarian (which is what I am) or a liberal-statist-authoritarian (USSR),  or any combination of the 3 metrics.   

 

Pish-posh. "Populism" has nothing to do with the "will of the people." Zero.

 

Populism has to do with a demagogue setting one one portion of society against another, stirring anger, hatred, and resentment, as a means to political power. Such demagogues often claim to speak to speak "for the people"--or rather, that portion of "the people" who form their cult--but it's all bullshit. Pure manipulation to gain and hold power. 

 

Every notable (and less notable) authoritarian/totalitarian in the past 100 years has been a populist.

 

Statism and populism go together hand and glove.

 

Otherwise name a "statist" dictator who wasn't a populist. You can't.

 

Liberalism and populism are polar opposites. One can't be both.

 

And the USSR wasn't "liberal" in any measure. There is no such thing as liberal-authoritarian. 

 

Libertarianism is a failed selfish ideology that most people grow out of once they reach adolescence and too often it provides cover to far-right extremism and bigotry. Not a serious political philosophy.

 

Combine populism in the mix with libertarianism and know-nothing Trumpist-type demagoguery always follows. There is nothing remotely "liberal" in such a toxic political stew. Rather you get Ron Paul style  extremism. 

 

Bill

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, SpyCar said:

 

Pish-posh. "Populism" has nothing to do with the "will of the people." Zero.

 

Populism has to do with a demagogue setting one one portion of society against another, stirring anger, hatred, and resentment, as a means to political power. Such demagogues often claim to speak to speak "for the people"--or rather, that portion of "the people" who form their cult--but it's all bullshit. Pure manipulation to gain and hold power. 

 

Every notable (and less notable) authoritarian/totalitarian in the past 100 years has been a populist.

 

Statism and populism go together hand and glove.

 

Otherwise name a "statist" dictator who wasn't a populist. You can't.

 

Liberalism and populism are polar opposites. One can't be both.

 

And the USSR wasn't "liberal" in any measure. There is no such thing as liberal-authoritarian. 

 

Libertarianism is a failed selfish ideology that most people grow out of once they reach adolescence and too often it provides cover to far-right extremism and bigotry. Not a serious political philosophy.

 

Combine populism in the mix with libertarianism and know-nothing Trumpist-type demagoguery always follows. There is nothing remotely "liberal" in such a toxic political stew. Rather you get Ron Paul style  extremism. 

 

Bill

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill, you might have your terms mixed up.    

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Populism

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13 minutes ago, SpyCar said:

@crazyhole

 

Did you even read the Wikipedia article you linked?

 

Bill

 

Yes.   This sums up the position pretty cleanly:

 

Populism refers to a range of political stances that emphasise the idea of "the people" and often juxtapose this group against "the elite".

 

The elites being the statists, whereas the populists are the proletariat or working class, but generally speaking it is a term for "the people".   

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12 minutes ago, crazyhole said:

Yes.   This sums up the position pretty cleanly:

 

Populism refers to a range of political stances that emphasise the idea of "the people" and often juxtapose this group against "the elite".

 

The elites being the statists, whereas the populists are the proletariat or working class, but generally speaking it is a term for "the people".   

 

You clearly didn't read carefully.

 

Populism is an ideology that "pits a virtuous and homogeneous people against a set of elites and dangerous 'others' who are together depicted as depriving (or attempting to deprive) the sovereign people of their rights, values, prosperity, identity, and voice."

 

Populists divide societies for their own purposes. There are the "people" (the cultic base) and those who are "others" (who are to blame for all the "people's" woes. Scapegoats.

 

For Hitler it was Jews, for Trump Mexicans and Muslims.

 

I see you couldn't name a non-populist dictator. Populism is the stuff on demagogues and dictators. 

 

Populism has zero to do with working in the interests of working people. It is about manipulating the anger and rage of one group in a society against a groups thats cast as the "other."

 

Every populist movement goes dictatorial and statist. That's the inherent nature of this authoritarian/totalitarian impulse, one that is anti-liberal and anti-rational.

 

Bill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, SpyCar said:

 

You clearly didn't read carefully.

 

Populism is an ideology that "pits a virtuous and homogeneous people against a set of elites and dangerous 'others' who are together depicted as depriving (or attempting to deprive) the sovereign people of their rights, values, prosperity, identity, and voice."

 

Populists divide societies for their own purposes. There are the "people" (the cultic base) and those who are "others" (who are to blame for all the "people's" woes. Scapegoats.

 

For Hitler it was Jews, for Trump Mexicans and Muslims.

 

I see you couldn't name a non-populist dictator. Populism is the stuff on demagogues and dictators. 

 

Populism has zero to do with working in the interests of working people. It is about manipulating the anger and rage of one group in a society against a groups thats cast as the "other."

 

Every populist movement goes dictatorial and statist. That's the inherent nature of this authoritarian/totalitarian impulse, one that is anti-liberal and anti-rational.

 

Bill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A non-populist dictator?   Mao, Stalin, Hussein, both ayatollahs, Assad, Shek, Pol Pot (debatable).   Thats just off the top of my head.   I'm sure I could come up with several more if you'd like.   

 

On the flip side we could talk about populist leaders like Mandela, the NDOG, the socialist party of Denmark, Peron, teddy Roosevelt.    

 

Populism isn't necessarily bad.   It can be, but so can any other political movement if put in the wrong hands.  

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9 minutes ago, crazyhole said:

A non-populist dictator?   Mao, Stalin, Hussein, both ayatollahs, Assad, Shek, Pol Pot (debatable).   Thats just off the top of my head.   I'm sure I could come up with several more if you'd like.   

 

On the flip side we could talk about populist leaders like Mandela, the NDOG, the socialist party of Denmark, Peron, teddy Roosevelt.    

 

Populism isn't necessarily bad.   It can be, but so can any other political movement if put in the wrong hands.  

 

All the mentioned dictators were populists.

 

Mao sent the so-called elites to "re-education camps" or had them killed.

 

Pol Pot exterminated a third of Cambodian society (and again the so-called educated elites).

 

Likewise, Stalin attacked and dispossessed (and killed) those with property as the enemies of the people.

 

Saddam and Assad were both from the Ba'athist (populist) Party.

 

Meanwhile Teddy Roosevelt and Nelson Mandela were not populists.

 

Juan (and Evita) Peron were definitely populists, but were also autocrats with dictatorial impulses.

 

So you failed on every front. 

 

Populism is ALWAYS BAD. It is an evil ideology that is always used for bad purposes by bad people. Always.

 

Bill

 

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