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Our Bipolar Democrats

I wrote here about the Democrats’ current money-raising campaign, which features the claim that Republicans propose to “dismantle Medicare and Social Security.” When it’s fundraising time, the emails never stop–and it’s always fundraising time.

Yesterday the Democrats were depressed:

From: Democratic Headquarters [mailto:dccc@dccc.org]
Sent: Thursday, August 29, 2013 7:47 PM
To: Hinderaker, John H.
Subject: bad news, John

In case you hadn’t noticed, Democrats don’t capitalize email subject headers. This is apparently a focus group-tested technique.

John — We have some bad news.

The Koch Brothers have been waiting for the right moment to crush President Obama’s progressive agenda — and it could be coming sooner than you think.

That’s right: House Republicans are attempting to use the upcoming debt ceiling deadline to take the economy AND the middle class hostage.

The Democrats never make arguments when they address their faithful, nor do they ever relate facts. Rather, they tell stories. Their stories always have a simple plot, and they personalize everything. For “Koch brothers,” who feature in most of the Dems’ pleas for money, you can read “bogeymen.” That is as sophisticated as it gets. And how, exactly, are the Republicans going to “take the economy AND the middle class hostage?” No one, apparently, expects coherent explanations from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Our fundraising deadline is in less than 48 hours. If we get outraised (for the third month in a row) Paul Ryan and House Republicans could put Medicare, Social Security and Obamacare on the chopping block.

Sure. You’ve no doubt seen the headlines about the Republicans’ drive to repeal Medicare and Social Security along with Obamacare. Democrats evidently believe this stuff.

We can’t let House Republicans and their Koch overlords get their way:

[A plea for money follows.]

Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan — who both attended the Kochs’ secret gathering of right wing millionaires earlier this month — are probably working the phones as we speak to ram through their extreme agenda. We can’t let them succeed.

Those Koch gatherings are so secret that I reported on my attendance at last year’s Palm Springs event, complete with photos. But why can’t we let the Republicans succeed? It’s because of their “extreme agenda.” What makes their agenda extreme? They want to repeal Social Security and Medicare. One thing you learn by being on the Democrats’ email lists is that rank and file Democrats don’t read newspapers and have no idea what is going on in the world.

Will you step up in the final hours?

http://dccc.org/48-hours

Thanks,

Democratic Headquarters

The Democrats always lay out a narrative of good vs. evil, in which the outcome hangs in the balance, and then ask their supporters to “step up.”

Yesterday the news was bad, as those evil Republicans were on the verge of out-raising the Dems for the third month in a row. But by today, fortunes had been reversed:

From: Democratic Headquarters [mailto:dccc@dccc.org]
Sent: Friday, August 30, 2013 12:49 PM
To: Hinderaker, John H.
Subject: Boehner’s not going to like this:

John Boehner is another bogeyman.

John –

Boehner’s not going to like this:

When Speaker Boehner unblinkingly threatened President Obama with dismantling programs like Social Security and Medicare over the debt ceiling, we asked you to step up and fight back. Well, you did… BIG TIME.

Boehner, of course, did no such thing. But truth plays no role in the Democratic Party’s appeals to its supporters.

With just 24 hours to go until the most important fundraising deadline of the year, we are about to hit 50,000 donations to our campaign! That’s amazing!

But we still need another 14,000 donations before midnight tomorrow to close the fundraising gap and hit Boehner where it hurts!

24 HOURS LEFT: Give $3 or more right now and your donation will be triple-matched!

In the Democrats’ narrative, Republican money all comes from “millionaires and billionaires.” So I always wonder who is triple-matching the Democrats’ donations. Poor people, no doubt.

Boehner, Cantor and Ryan will do anything they can to spite President Obama and obstruct his agenda for the remainder of his term. And they are backing up their threats with Koch brother cash. The only way we can stop them is if you step up today.

This is another theme: Republicans don’t have a political philosophy–conservatism, for instance, or limited government–no, they oppose President Obama out of “spite.”

http://dccc.org/24-Hours

We can do this!

Democratic Headquarters

If by “we can do this” the Democrats mean they can out-raise the Republicans, they are certainly right. One thing Democrats are great at is raking in money. These emails convey a good sense of how they do it. The Democratic Party’s relationship with its rank and file is rather like a video game. They spin a plot line, an uncomplicated story of good and evil. But it isn’t just a story, it is a story in which the reader can participate and on which he or she can have an effect. (One thinks, at an infinitely higher level, of If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler.) On Thursday, things are looking dire. The bad guys are pulling ahead. But you can stem the tide–just follow the link and contribute your $3! On Friday, sure enough, the tide has turned. Your contribution made the difference! (“You [stepped up and fought back]. BIG TIME.”) Now all you have to do is contribute some more, and you will get the next installment in the story in tomorrow’s email.

The Democrats’ appeals are so transparently dumb that it seems inconceivable that they could work. But they do; in fact, they are doubly effective. Not only do they raise money, but they inspire and motivate millions of people who have no idea what the issues are, and whose interests are probably adverse to the Democrats’, to turn out and vote for their team. Republicans are never going to be this crude, but we need to learn how better to appeal to voters’ emotions as well as their intellects.

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