Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Gotta Give People Something To Be Intense About

It's generally accepted - and true, at least to some extent - that gun nuts and the NRA have such political success because the issue can turn out really intense single issue voters. Just say Obama (or Pelosi or Clinton or...) is gonna take away your guns and they show up to the midterms.

The thing is that D politicians rarely try to inspire their own intense single issue voters who could be turned out on issues, including, yes, the gun issue. But you can't turn out single issue reproductive health voters (I mean those who don't necessarily vote all the time) on "safe, legal, and rare." You can't turn out anti-war voters on "kindler, gentler wars, mostly with your pal Droney." You can't turn out gun control voters on "um...more background checks and... [thinks hard] raise the age of legally buying a gun that shoots a round 45 times per minute to the Bud Light buying age?" And Dems tend to speak in pundit approved gibberish speak. "Let's close the gun show loophole." Um, sure, what the hell is that again? How about we just take away all the damn guns.

The problem with this is that conservative single issue gun nut voters are trained to think that any hint of more gun control is a threat to their penises, and so moderate proposals to castrate them just a bit bring them out to the polls in force. Gonna snip off just a bit, Jimbo. Lukewarm proposals inspire the opposition but not supporters.

Maybe these political calculations are correct. Maybe "an abortion cart on every corner" will turn off the totebagging moderates more than it will inspire intense single issue votes. But don't be surprised when common sense rhetoric about "common sense proposals" doesn't inspire your base to turn out at midterms. Also, too, stop blaming those voters for not voting for you. It's your job to get them to the polls. Most people have better things to do than think about politics all the time. They don't necessarily know that "slightly less evil than the other guys" is both true and important, and pundit-approved moderate language and policy isn't necessarily going to reach them. Nobody's going to vote to bend the cost curve. They'll vote if you promise them they can go to the damn doctor.

Intensity can be there, but it's gonna require leadership to maintain it.

But it may be time to retire this narrative, or at least ask whether things really are finally changing on this front, as a new CNN poll strongly suggests.

The poll finds that a majority of Americans strongly support action and vastly outnumber those who strongly oppose action. It finds that 69 percent of Americans favor “stricter gun control laws,” and 52 percent do so “strongly.” Meanwhile, only 26 percent oppose them, with only 14 percent doing so strongly.