The loss of the House of Representatives by Democrats this election will be analyzed to death, and there is certainly enough blame to go around regardless which group is critiqued. A great portion of the blame can be attributed to corporate infusion of cash to Republican and Tea Party candidates. However, Democrats and President Obama must accept that they too, own their fair share of blame for overestimating the intelligence of the American voter.
One thing is clear; the Obama Administration and Democrats passed laws and programs that are beneficial for all Americans. It doesn’t matter which political philosophy one may espouse; lower taxes, health-care, banking reforms, and consumer protections benefit individuals and the country in general. But by not explicitly telling Americans what, why, and how the laws are beneficial, conservatives were able to control the narrative and define Democrat’s programs as abhorrent and hazardous to America.
The health care debate is an example of voters not understanding simple concepts like a public option or end of life counseling. Conservatives defined end of life counseling as “death panels,” and if Democrats had simply called it a living will, there would not have been such a negative connotation. President Obama should have addressed the nation and explained all of those concepts, and if he had done so early, Fox News and Tea Party leaders would not have defined those terms.
It is the same with banking reforms and credit card legislation that protect consumers from predatory lenders and unfair charges. By waiting for conservatives to label and define the issues, the conservatives’ lies misinformed gullible voters. There is no doubt that conservatives lie and use fear to promote skepticism for laws that help individuals, but Democrats assumed (wrongly) that voters were inquisitive enough to discern the value of legislation for themselves.
Tea Party groups railed on Obama and Democrats for raising taxes, regardless that 95% of Americans got a tax cut in 2009. Many people who depend on Social Security and Medicare voted for candidates who want to privatize or eliminate those important social programs. The reason is that Americans don’t understand what privatize means, and don’t comprehend that those are social programs or they would not protest that Obama is pushing Socialism on America.
Giving tax cuts to the wealthiest 2% of Americans should only have support from the wealthiest Americans, but conservatives redefined those cuts as increases and voters reacted accordingly. The Democrats and Obama should realize that many Americans are like children. Just telling them something is good doesn’t work without telling what and why it’s good. There are unemployed Americans who support outsourcing jobs because Fox News and conservatives fooled them into thinking that if outsourcing is good for corporations, it’s good for America.
Hopefully this midterm election has taught Democrats that Americans, although basically good people, are naïve and gullible. How many protests does one have to observe to see poor people protesting against unemployment benefits and social programs before realizing that like children, they need to be educated?
Democrats must do a better job at educating the public, and stop being arrogant. They presume that if they say something is good for America, voters will go along with their plans. Even though the legislation is good, Democrats have to start early education and not assume that just because they say something is good, voters will understand the particulars.
Republicans taking the House is demoralizing, but it is worse that good Americans believe Republican’s lies because Democrats did not explain the bills early and often. Hopefully Democrats learned their lesson and will assume that many voters are what they are; little children who are lazy and will not think for themselves without a little prodding and information. Democrats are intelligent, but assuming that all voters are capable of thinking for themselves is a serious error in judgment.
Democrats have 2 years to educate voters, and if they don’t, they can expect the same results in 2012 that they experienced this week. They can be sure that conservatives are prepared with more lies and misinformation to feed the American people, and they started yesterday.
Democrats are already at a disadvantage if they continue overestimating the intelligence of voters because stupid people like Sarah Palin do understand the American people and are spreading lies that Democrats can mitigate if they drop the arrogant assumption that just because they say something is good for Americans, voters will believe them. In a perfect world they wouldn’t have to go to such lengths for votes, but America is anything but perfect these days.