Thursday, April 24, 2008

Why the right keeps on winning

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown the other day posited that Boris was ahead in the opinion polls because the public is gullible; rich white folk and parts of the press love him. A friend of hers, a black social worker, who was thinking of voting for Boris was waiting to be fooled.
In the Nation, Robert Scheer reacts to the opinion polls that put McCain ahead of both Clinton and Obama by asking Are Americans unusually stupid or is it something our President put in the water?
This is the reason that it was so damaging when Obama tried to explain why he was less popular in Pennsylvania than Hillary because they had lost their jobs and as a result It's not surprising that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment.
It's like Operation Clark County all over again. The belief is ingrained that the only possible reason to vote for a conservative is that you are mentally ill, very stupid or fundamentally evil. The only way for a conservative government to get elected is if they manage to fool the public about their true evil. It is, in effect, a classic false conciousness theory - the people do not know what they are thinking, and couldn't understand it if they did.
The problem with this is that it predicates both an underestimation of one's opponents, and an elitist condescension towards 'the people' who, bless them, need the guidance of good Democrats/Socialists/bien pensants so that they know what they should be thinking. However, the one thing that's almost guaranteed to send a party down to defeat is the notion that they really only represent the elites - and the new elites are starting to look very bien pensant indeed.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a devils advocate comment. Surely the biggest victim of the tactics you describe is the BNP.

7:36 pm  
Blogger Tim J said...

Biggest victim or most rewarded? The BNP, loathsome as they are, are trying to sell themselves as the only authentic voice of the non-elite - the non-political political party. The disconnect between the political class and the rest of us is their biggest (if not only) asset.

9:41 am  

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