Clinton’s ads were content free

I found this study featured in Vox to be fascinating. It’s symptomatic of the Democrats’ strategy since 2009 or so of not building popular enthusiasm for their ideas between elections, instead gambling that wonks and connected wheelers-and-dealers can craft and negotiate optimal policy solutions when insulated from public opinion. All the public has to know is that “we’re the adults with the solutions; we won’t worry your pretty little heads with the details.” The claim to seriousness evaporates, though, when the public decides you’re not offering them anything and votes for someone who does–even if that someone is a bizarre game show host.

The ultimate irony is that a wooden devotion to “fact-checking” and “civility” can issue in a political campaign that’s issue-free and purely negative. The idea that politics is primarily about dispassionate solutions arrived at through reflective deliberation–a conception that goes back to Plato–also misses what politics is essentially about: balancing interests and power. We cannot restore any sense to our political institutions or frayed social relations until campaigners of good will realize this.

About cvickrey

Clifford Vickrey spends his days confounding the wise.
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