Ideas and Persuasion

IDEAS AND PERSUASION….Marshall Wittman, a reformed sinner who spent much of his career in the belly of the beast (his words) before seeing the liberal light, has some advice for us:

The left has a tremendous turn-out machine as was demonstrated in 2004. It’s just that there are more conservatives out there than liberals ? by at least a 3-2 margin. Democrats did a marvelous job mobilizing the base in 2004, but at the end of the day, the conservative base is going to be much larger than the liberal core.

The task, therefore, is for progressives to convince more Americans that they have a better way with innovative ideas. Ideas and persuasion play an even more vital role for progressives than righties because of the conservative nature of the country.

Actually, it’s worse than that: if Harris is to be believed, conservatives outnumber liberals by more like 2:1, and they’ve held that lead for over 30 years.

Historically, the Democratic party relied on a strong conservative Southern contingent to make it into a majority party, and if you take this into account there have been only two periods in recent history in which liberals have genuinely held a majority in Congress: 1932-36 and 1964-72. The rest of the time Democrats have governed only by appealing to moderates as well as liberals. Republicans, conversely, with a large conservative base to start with, have the luxury of paying less attention to the center.

Unfair? Sure. Deal with it. The reality is that liberals have two options: we can convince more people to become liberals ? an unlikely prospect given that the number of self-identified liberals has stayed absolutely rock steady at 18% for the past four decades ? or we can try to persuade more moderates to make common cause with us. As Marshall suggests, option 2 is the only likely winner.