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Michelle Haimoff

Michelle Haimoff

Posted: September 15, 2008 02:43 PM

Why the Democrats Need to Dumb It Down


Here's my advice for the Democrats:

Dumb. It. Down.

The Republicans see them as elitist, and many swing voters will too. The way Democratic representatives speak, both in the political and media realms, is way too sophisticated for the average American. The Democrats know that the interest of most Americans is more aligned with the Democratic platform than with the Republican platform, yet much of America doesn't seem to know it, and that's not because the Democrats haven't talked about what they stand for again and again and again. It's because they haven't communicated it right. Most Americans find the process of analyzing information to be tedious and superior, so the Democrats need to find a way to slice, wrap and hand it to them with a side of fries, the way the McCain camp does.

"Straight-talk" has nothing to do with content and everything to do with delivery. Sarah Palin is a talk show host. The audience lights up when they see her as if she were giving away Avon Mad for Mauve lipstick at the end of the show. Palin could say anything as long as she uses short sentences and says it with a smirk. She doesn't bore them with complicated oratory; she makes them laugh and lets them think that they'll all head over to Culver's later for frozen custard and ButterBurgers.

This is the television and Internet age and the Republicans have targeted their demographic. Palin looks, speaks and dresses like the TV version of a fun-loving, god-fearing conservative. Her husband and kids look like TV versions of the husband and kids. This all wasn't a happy coincidence. She was cast first and given her lines later. Local fame in Alaska is a distant cry from the attention and fanfare she's getting as McCain's VP, so the Democrats can't blame her for seizing this once in a lifetime role. But they should be blaming themselves for letting her run with it. The Democratic Party is supposed to be the party of Hollywood, yet the Republicans are schooling them at casting.

If Democrats want to get the Republican-leaning voters, they need to present a Republican-esque Democrat. An anti-elitist. Someone who has been pro-McCain for most of the election, who is finally coming around. Someone who talks straight, which, as we all know, doesn't actually mean talking straight, but rather talking simply, with a Midwestern accent and a pissed off, playful tone. In short, the Democrats have to dumb it down. They should have learned by now that it doesn't matter how much sense they're making if the people that need to hear it most aren't around to listen.