Who Hijacked Our Country

Thursday, July 13, 2006

America — A One-Party Country?

By now everyone has a handle on Karl Rove’s methods for duping millions of gullible American voters. Character assassination, attacking your opponent’s strongest point instead of his weaknesses, painting your opponent into a corner by framing and defining the issues — these are all part of the Rove playbook.

But now it seems there’s a whole new level to his trademark combination of shrewdness and deviousness. He has a grasp of niche marketing that few advertising executives or market researchers could even touch.

This column by George Will shows that Rove is so far ahead of his nearest competitor, it doesn’t even matter who comes in second. When Democrats try to argue their position using logic and facts, they’re so outgunned by Rove’s amoral tactics, it’s like a Little League team trying to beat the New York Yankees.

George Will talks about niche marketing and microtargeting. According to his column, Democrats are facing “tremendous odds” in their quest to avoid being marginalized. His column is based on a book by two L.A. Times reporters called “One Party Country.”

In the 2004 election, the Bush campaign had a database called Voter Vault. This database was used for microtargeting more constituencies than you could ever imagine.

One example (out of many): several thousand Russian Jewish immigrants in the Cleveland area were targeted. Speeches (in Russian) urged these people to vote for Bush. Local Republicans had a database on every Orthodox Jewish residence in this Cleveland neighborhood and they knew exactly which emotional buttons to push.

Rove knows more market research minutiae than any ten advertising agencies, and he puts this knowledge to sinister use. Bourbon drinkers are more likely to be Republican; gin drinkers are heavily Democratic. The Rove Machine uses hundreds, thousands, of factoids like this to zero in and figure out exactly which buttons to push with which voters.

In the 2004 election, the Republicans were geniuses at using these custom-tailored messages against “slivers of the electorate” as Will puts it. It amounted to a stealth campaign. These “slivers” were snipped away from the Democrats in so many places, they didn’t register in national polls or on the radar of Democratic strategists.

As Will puts it: “It was the political equivalent of stealth technology in air power: Democrats would feel the bombs explode, but they could not see the bombers.”

George Will says: “Politically, there are not two Americas, the Red and Blue states. There are countless constituencies to be courted with niche marketing. In a closely divided nation, with a small and shrinking number of truly unaffiliated voters, supremacy goes to the party with the best database and most nimble microtargeters.”

For those of us who are alarmed by the Neocon takeover of our government: We need to learn Rove’s tactics and beat him at his own game. We've got our work cut out for us. Can we do it?

6 Comments:

Blogger Praguetwin said...

The question is if it is better to win at all costs, or lose with some honor.

I think the left finds that whole process so repulsive and dishonest that they would generally be against it, no matter the benefit.

July 13, 2006 at 2:05 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Praguetwin: I also think the whole process is repulsive and dishonest, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Our current administration is so repulsive, something has to be done. If the Republicans, the ones who talk about about free enterprise and limited government, actually meant it, it would be one thing. If they meant it, they'd take their party back from the warmongers and Fundamentalists who've taken it over. I don't really care if the next administration is Democrat or Republican, but we have to get these neocon wingnuts out of there, whatever it takes.

July 13, 2006 at 6:35 PM  
Blogger Charity Shill said...

We are already a one party country - but not for the reason you mentioned.

Both parties are amoral and use tactics such as slander, bigotry, lies, and filth.

It is not Boy Scouts facing the army - it is two mafia gangs fighting over booty.

July 14, 2006 at 9:20 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Charity Shill: I couldn't agree more -- that both parties are Mafia gangs. Unfortunately, one of the Mafia gangs seems to be not quite as bad as the other, so everyone keeps voting for the lesser of 2 evils. I do it too; I keep voting for the Democrats for that exact reason.

July 14, 2006 at 10:22 AM  
Blogger Carl Osgood said...

The real danger isn't that Rove is such a master manipulator of people, but that so many Americans are so willing to let him mentally molest them. How else could George Bush have gotten elected, not just once, but twice? Besides the vote fraud, of course, a lot of people did vote for that fool.

July 14, 2006 at 2:51 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Carl: Yup, that's so true. Americans are just too complacent and apathetic, and too mollified by lightweight "news" (mostly celebrity gossip) and mindless TV shows. They can't be bothered to follow current events or think for themselves, so they're easy to manipulate.

July 14, 2006 at 3:41 PM  

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