Thomas Edsall has a new article on our current focus on writing the “far right” script and attacking the Democrats from the Center on intensely polarizing cultural issues.
“As Republicans well know, Democrats are divided on a host of volatile racial, cultural and sexual issues.
Take a look at the polls.
In 2019, the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group commissioned a survey asking for agreement or disagreement with the statement: “There are only two genders, male and female.”
In the full sample, a decisive majority, 59 percent agreed, including 43 percent who “strongly agreed,” 32 percent disagreed and nine percent who said they weren’t sure. Among Republicans, it was no contest, 78 percent agreed and 16 percent disagreed. Independents mirrored the whole sample.
Democrats were split: a plurality, 48 percent, disagreed, and 44 percent agreed.
The survey itself arguably embodied what critics might call “transphobic framing” — transgender issues are among the most polarizing in contemporary politics and much contemporary cultural conflict in fact stems from framing disputes.
An August-September 2017 Pew Research survey asked respondents to choose between two statements: “whether a person is a man or a woman is determined at birth” and “whether a person is a man or a woman can be different from the sex at birth.”
A 54 percent majority of all those surveyed said sex “is determined at birth” and 44 percent said it “can be different from the sex at birth.” Republican voters and those who lean Republican chose “at birth” 80 to 19. Democratic voters and those who lean Democratic said sex can be different from the sex at birth 64 to 34.
Or take the public’s view of the “defund the police” movement that gained momentum after the murder of George Floyd a year ago.
A March 1-2 USA Today/Ipsos Poll found that voters were opposed to defunding the police 58-18, with the strongest opposition among whites (67 percent to 13 percent support, the rest undecided) and Republicans (84 to 4 percent), while a plurality of Democrats were opposed (at 39 to 34), which was also true among African-Americans (37 to 28).
These surveys are complemented by others that measure the fear that our public dialogue is too constricted. A Harvard/Harris survey in February asked, “Do you think there is a growing cancel culture that is a threat to our freedom or not?” By 64-36, a majority of voters said they thought there was. Republicans see a threat by 80-20; independents by 64-34, but Democrats were split, with a slight majority, 52-48, saying they do not see a threat. This basic pattern is observable across a number of issues.
Although centrist Democrats make up the majority of the party in the polls I cited above, the fact that a substantial minority of Democrats takes the more extreme stance allows Republicans to portray the Democratic Party as very much in thrall to its more “radical” wing. …”
The mainstream Right and particularly the rightwing populist wing in the Tucker Carlson sphere is sensitive to trends and talking points which get started in our circles.
Since Joe Biden was sworn into office, we have gone out of our way here to help these people by identifying the issues which we think will work to attack him on and providing feedback. We came up with immigration, political correctness or wokeness, crime, civil liberties, censorship, trans and historic monuments. These are the issues which people in our sphere care about and which have the greatest traction on the Right and Center and which are maximally divisive among Democrats.
We will never know what kind of impact our pro bono work is having on getting everyone in our sphere on the same page. It is likely that given the border crisis and the crime wave and the proliferation woke insanity over the past six months that it is just obvious that this is the most potent line of attack. I’m pleased to report though that the populist conversation is being steered into these issues and framed much as we want it as “woke progressivism” run amok in the professional class.
It is vital that we throw the strongest punches in the weakest spots of the opposition. Normally, Republicans want to throw weak punches on unpopular losing issues like drawing a line in the sand on withdrawing troops from Afghanistan or preserving the 2017 corporate tax cut.
Note: We will continue to search for and develop new potent lines of attack on issues like climate change extremism. We’re increasingly optimistic that progressive activists will force the dreaded meat eating issue in which case we will happily take polarizing the electorate along dietary lines.