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Thursday, November 04, 2004

A Tough Sell

Consider the following hypothetical situation. You walk into a store looking for some product. The salesman says little about the particular make and model of the product his store sells. Instead the salesman begins berating the competitor's product, calling it worse than horrible. He then states that anyone who has bought, or who would even consider buying the competitor's product, is a deluded moron.

Would this salesman's approach convince you to buy his product? Not me. Even if the salesman were right about how bad the competitor's product was, I would leave his store and never come back.

Yet the salesman's approach is exactly the same as the Democrats' approach to selling their party's candidates. I can't count how many times I've been told that Republicans are "deluded", "morons", or "stupid", with the frequency of such insults increasing immediately before the election. Many of these insults were accompanied by supporting "evidence". I found much of that supporting evidence to be very weak, even bogus.

While I'm convinced that these emails and posts didn't help the Kerry's cause, and I wanted Kerry to win, I decided that pointing out problems with them prior to the election would only make things worse. So I decided to lay low and wait for the election to complete. But now that the election is over, during the next couple of weeks I'll show my analysis of some of these emails and posts and point out where the supporting evidence for the Stupid, Deluded, Moron Republican/Conservative (StuDeMoRC) hypothesis is, at best, lacking.

But even if the StuDeMoRC hypothesis is true, it's too late now - those StuDeMoRCs happen to be our rulers. Consider this: if you had gone up to Saddam Hussein before the war and called him stupid and deluded to his face it probably wouldn't have turned out too well for you. The only question would have been whether he would have thrown you into the shredder feet first or head first. Back here in the United States, it's fortunate that insulting the StuDeMoRC rulers won't turn out quite so catastrophically. Nevertheless, call me crazy, but insulting those in power doesn't seem to me like the optimal way to win friends with power and influence them. In fact, it seems, um, er, well, rather stupid and deluded. But maybe that's just me.

Unfortunately, I don't think we're going to get rid of StuDeMoRC rulers anytime soon. As I've written before, demographic trends help Conservatives. Indeed, consider the following exit poll statistics:

The Democrat won the votes of single women by 63-36, even as Bush was winning 54 percent of married women to Kerry's 45 percent.

Single women don't have many children. The most likely predictor of your voting patterns is your family's voting patterns. Therefore, in another generation there are going to be even fewer liberals. Of course, part of the discrepancy above is explained by the fact that younger women are more likely to be both single and liberal. However, unlike previous generations, the current young generation is not particularly liberal: 45% of 18-29 year olds voted for Bush versus 52.5% for the rest of the population. Not much difference, really, and not enough to explain the 36% versus 54% difference between single and married women.

So instead of calling Conservatives "deluded morons", perhaps it's time that we rethink our strategy about how best to interact with them.

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