Democrats Arrogantly Overestimated the Intelligence of the American Voter

This was the typical 2010 American voter

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.

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21 Replies to “Democrats Arrogantly Overestimated the Intelligence of the American Voter”

  1. For the longest time i didn’t know what a carburetor did. I asked a client of mine who knows about cars and he explained it to me in a way that i understood. It was a lot easier than researching what a carburetor does. The democrats (especially Obama) should have people on staff whose specific purpose is to understand the bill and explain it to the average person. There are many in the tea party that Obama’s bills will help and if they understood the bill they would not be a tea partier anymore. It kind of reminds me of the end of the movie The American President. Michael J Fox tells the president about the desert and the president says, they don’t drink the sand because they are thirsty, they drink the sand because they don’t know any better. A person will not be led around by fear if they are educated. I don’t know if that is a famous quote but if not -Aaron

  2. Obama has talked with Americans in a manner that assumes we are all rational, thinking adults with the ability to see the big picture. I believe for that reason, he probably didn’t think so many would buy into the lies and smears of the GOP. His approach is cerebral rather than emotional, but the GOP focuses on base emotions like fear and hatred, as well as the short memories of many voters. They also appeal to selfishness and the inability of some people to either empathize or understand the connection with people who are different from them in any way. For Democrats to win the message narrative, they need to showcase legislative accomplishments and proposals in a way that breaks down in the most basic terms how these things benefit everyone regardless of ideology.

  3. The “average” American voter is lucky to have any knowledge about any politician or issue that they didn’t hear from some talking head on TV, radio or a blog. At best they’re of average to below average intelligence and if you yell “socialism” or “taxes” enough they’ll just fall in line like the good little stupid sheep they are and do what you want them to do.

    The right wing machine has been particularly effective with promoting their message using fake information sources like FoxNews and editing sound bites to make their point regardless of whether the point is a lie or just a half truth.

    The dumbing down of America began a long time ago when politicians realized that a stupid populace would be a gullible populace. Since then we’ve been steadily sinking in education and rising in the “room temperature IQ” phenomenon. This will continue as long as corporations run this country which means that this is permanent as they will not let anyone with a brain stay around long enough to make the changes needed to show them for the crooks and liars they are.

    America is heading for a huge fall but don’t worry because the top 1 or 2 percent will do just fine and they’re sure you’ll be happy living in that cardboard box eating rats and bugs for dinner.

  4. To be honest, the amount of disinformation being spread by rich Republicans and their own network, FOX News, didn’t help. Nor does the fact that the so-called “liberal media elite” is actually a right of center media elite that trumpets Republican positions whenever possible. With the news reported so heavily slanted against anything liberal right now, I can’t entirely blame the voters, though I agree that people are far more naive and gullible than the Democrat leadership allowed for – and fickle and short-memoried.

  5. I have to agree with KJ to a degree, that we are headed for trouble. But I dont think its this years House that will cause it. They are very limited in what they can get passed.

    What worries me is the elections to come with the billions and Supreme court judges that the rep’s can claim as support. A few in office now, a few more next time and when it comes to a Republican controlled congress we will have a corporate financed Congress.

    And then it wont matter what the Dems overlook or dont overlook.

  6. President Obama did underestimate the ignorance of the average voter. I think he’s still in shock. I don’t think it was arrogance. I think he truly believed that the average American could not possibly believe the garbage they were being fed. I also think he finds it hard to believe that there’s as much deep seated racism alive and doing well in 2010. He also didn’t expect to be abandoned to this degree by his fellow DEMs and his base. Unless he has a master strategy that we don’t know about yet, I think he could use some new advisors and staff to decipher his policies and messages for the dumbed down American public. I can’t imagine what we must appear like from other nations. The other major problem was the media outlets. Fox news was loud, consumptive and predictable. Then the other outlets had to lean to the extreme right and broadcast the GOP talking points and lies 24/7 daily just to try to keep up with the ratings Fox was receiving. Outside of a few like Rachel Maddow or Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC on occasion, true journalism is a thing of the past. Americans would tune in for a sense of what was going on and the media ran with the misleading information of the GOP. It’s still happening and getting worse by the day and the hour. Obama has a tight line to walk. He can’t appear too difficult after what happened and since America is still buying the bull so far. He has to present himself as willing to work with even though he’s done it time and time again. As you said in this post, the reality is not being communicated. I’m concerned about the outcome of all this especially since the GOP picked up so many states at a time period of redistricting. At this point, I think praying is a requirement because no one seems to have enough courage or commitment to stand, support and speak on behalf of our President to help or work with him to move the country forward through giants. Thanks for the insight.

  7. Great points. And right on- t his is the biggest flaw and fault of the Democratic party, Obama included. They wrongly project their intelligence onto the country. They need to learn to communicate things simply, not because Americans are stupid, but because Americans are preoccupied, busy, short attention spanned and don’t pay attention.

    Of course, 28% are plain stupid and we know who they are.

  8. Bingo! That’s why we’ve been hearing about this “get rid of the Dept of Education” crap from the righties. Evil assholes.

  9. So true. I was guilty of thinking a lot of people I know were stupid. Then I realized that their entire lives were caught up in working, commuting, child raising, cooking, shopping, etc. When they have free time, the last thing they want to do is delve into politics. I’m lucky because I’m retired and I have the time and inclination to stay informed. And then when I try to talk to them about what I’ve learned, they are not interested. What to do? I honestly don’t know and I think that they think I’m obsessed or something, so I don’t talk about it anymore. And they don’t even watch FOX.

  10. I agree. a Laymen Czar I guess, though I hate that term Czar, sounds too Russian and just feeds the hysteria that is the Republican party.

  11. yeah but half the republican party are ignorant poo-flinger monkeys, trick is to talk on their level and not sound like your talking down to them. I find it hard to do if you don’t have a thick southern accent and use folksy terms and cute sayings like “That boy is about as sharp as a cue ball.” :)

    Here are some you guys can use. :D

  12. I think we need to start fighting fire with fire. Start referring to them as the Conservative Media Elites and we need to re-brand ourselves, maybe stop calling ourselves liberals, it just feeds the “tax and spend” hype. something done liberally means to do it a lot; so in a simple mind, it says that we’re going to tax a lot, spend alot, etc… though I think it was really suppose to be short of liberty or maybe liberators maybe.. I can’t imagine why we’re called liberals tbh. will have to research that in a bit :) I do like the name progressives. that name fits us best. Is there a difference between Liberal and Progressive? I’ve always equated them to mean the same thing but then again I was born and raised in Texas lol

  13. They voted for a Retarded School Yard bully with a Napoleon Complex who got us into not 1 but 2 wars and destroyed our economy, while polarizing the entire country and they elected him not once, but twice and they voted for a certain folksy actor who couldn’t act to save his life, nor could he actually lead a country without having someone feed him lines; granted he had parkinsons but there in lies my point; he wasn’t mentally fit to be president and they elected him twice. Trust me, 75% or more of registered and active voters in the country are mentally incapable of being responsible voters – that is to say, ones who actually do 10 minutes of research and don’t just mark everything with an (R) or (D) beside it. I hate that more than anything. Look at that one stupid democrat dude (I mean he was stupid, not that he was a stupid democrat) Meek down in Florida, dude was drooling and staring blank at the camera forever and he managed to get 30% of the vote; who the hell would have voted for him if they had actually done their research? Nobody I’d like to think but then again this same group of monkey see monkey do idiots voted for Nixon’s ilk too. I think several of those republican leaders like Tricky Dick. *snicker*

  14. Nice! I love how progressives always think that anyone who disagrees with them is either stupid , racist or just can’t understand we are doing it because it’s good for you. Yea keep thinking that way and you will win over all of us dumb ass hick poo flingers.

  15. I’m glad you don’t get your info from some some talking head on TV, radio or a blog. I’m sure you get your news from MSLSD or the Huff or how about the daily KOS. They all lie you just like the lies from the left better.

  16. So all of us with opposing viewpoints are misinformed idiots, ignorant to the progressive big picture that every sensible, well read, educated person clearly sees.
    This logic mind you, is coming from the group espousing equality and tolerance – the Liberals. They’re so sick with their own disease that they don’t see their own hypocrisy, and moral elitism; they also somehow seem to be below the usage of correct spelling, grammar, and google (Liberal isn’t a secret word, it’s meaning is pretty well established, and has evolved significantly in the last 180 years), as evidenced below:
    I think we need to start fighting fire with fire. Start referring to them as the Conservative Media Elites and we need to re-brand ourselves, maybe stop calling ourselves liberals, it just feeds the “tax and spend” hype. something done liberally means to do it a lot; so in a simple mind, it says that we’re going to tax a lot, spend alot, etc… though I think it was really suppose to be short of liberty or maybe liberators maybe.. I can’t imagine why we’re called liberals tbh.

  17. The Republicans have been able to con folks like you that the elite can be found only among Democrats. Unfortunately, they have been successful at projecting a phony populism while they laugh privately at the people they have been able to fool that way. Remember the name Wasilla Hillbillies, used to describe the Palin family? Well, that came from Republicans, namely from McCain campaigners, which is ironic considering that Sarah Palin WANTS
    to be part of the elite.

    So, don’t you think outsourcing of American jobs, planning to dismantle health care reform and denying health care to millions, or cutting social programs without cutting defense ones are indicative of elitist arrogance? Those are things the GOP advocates or practices, so it doesn’t matter how folksy they pretend to be. It’s all an act, and most of us here can see through it.

  18. Anne,
    You’re continuing to espouse blatant lies like “denying healthcare to millions,” and “dismantling healthcare reform.” Total straw man arguments as nobody is proposing either of those two ideas.
    I can’t answer your questions, as I simply can’t, and won’t, accept the faulty premise.
    “When did you stop beating your wife?”

    There is elitism everywhere – nobody’s arguing that. I’m certainly not making the point that there are no Republican elitists.
    The difference is, I’m not on a blog commenting on how moronic and uneducated the opposition is. I personally feel there are reasonable and intellectual arguments to be made from the left on most issues. I’m simply commenting on the hilarity of someone professing their own intellectual superiority, when they can’t properly punctuate a sentence.

    Granted, if I *was* going to post on a blog about how stupid the opposing party is (which is pretty useless and futile), I would at least proof read prior to clicking “post comment.”

    Your Elitist Libertarian Friend

  19. Say what you want about how ignorant voters are but the truth is people voted for republicans because they liked their version of reality over reality. Republicans have a simple message Washington is the problem Democrats steal your money and even though our policies caused all the problems we are not going to dwell on that because our ideas are sound they just were not implemented correctly. This is the same thing that die hard Marxists are saying about communism and it is just as false.
    Republican policies steal from the poor and the middle class. They reward the rich for taking stupid risks with other people’s money and create economic collapse. Those people that support these policies do so because they believe that someday it will be their turn to feed at the trough. Of course they have a better chance of getting hit by a meteorite but hey some one wins the lotto right. Truth is the rags to riches story is part of American mythology and it does happen once in a hundred million or so but most the time businesses fail and the people that hoped to be free of the grind end up right back under the wheel. Greed, hate and mistrust of Government are the legacy of the republican party.

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