Wednesday, February 16, 2022

I Feel Your Pain

Someone (sorry, forget who) reminded me of this the other day. In 1992 during a presidential debate with audience questions, the 3 candidates (Bush, Perot, Clinton) were all asked this question:
AUDIENCE QUESTION: Yes. How has the national debt personally affected each of your lives? And if it hasn’t, how can you honestly find a cure for the economic problems of the common people if you have no experience in what’s ailing them?
It's a hilarious question, really, what happens when relatively informed voters have their brains absolutely sizzled by mainstream political coverage.

Clinton (you can click the link to read the answer) understood correctly that it was a question about personal economic difficulties, and not actually THE DEBT, but at that moment in time, especially, voters were all trained to believe that all their problems were caused by government spending too much of YOUR money on THOSE people and this led to THE DEBT which was ruining all of our lives.

The number one thing any president had to do was FIX THE DEBT and also not raise taxes.

You can read this article (about a different debate) for a taste of it, and how, as always, THE DEMCORATIC POLITICIAN is the one responsible, even after 12 years of Republican rule, and how it is THE CENTRAL ISSUE facing the candidates (especially the Democrat).

The broader point is that focus groups, especially ones assembled by manipulators like Frank Luntz, involve people trying to please the teacher by reciting back the smart things they "know," and those things come from snippets of Morning Joseph. Then it was the debt and deficit (economy), now it's inflation (economy) and masks (Covid and general support for Covid sucks) and the wokes (Democrats are doing things for THOSE PEOPLE but not me, because what are they doing? Not a lot of building back better.).

Political coverage almost always incorretly diagnoses the problem, providing a flawed narrative which people, when asked, repeat back.