David Roberts @drvox Seattleite transplanted from Tennessee; now blogging for vox.com/ about energy politics. Climate hawk, deficit dove. Not a doctor. Jul. 29, 2019 3 min read

Dems talk way too much about the right policy or message and way to little about *how to put the message in front of people*. All the clever plans & brilliant messages in the world are useless if no one's communicating them to people repeatedly through outlets they trust.

The right has a giant, coordinated media machine devoted to conveying its message, so that every conservative hears it repeatedly. The left has no such machine. So its plans & messages end up diluted, distorted, or ignored.

This giant, glaring asymmetry completely shapes every aspect of US political life but goes bizarrely under-discussed in Dem circles. Instead you have endless rounds of, "Dems should talk more about X." Almost always, they are talking about X! It just isn't reaching voters.

Just to take one example of millions, Hillary Clinton spent TONS of time on the campaign trail talking about how to help coal miners through the energy transition. She was passionate about it! But one garbled sentence defined her. Why?  https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/9/15/16306158/hillary-clinton-hall-of-mirrors 

Things like this -- Hillary being characterized based on one careless sentence, despite the vast bulk of evidence indicating the opposite -- don't just happen. And they sure as fck aren't the candidates' fault, unless you think someone should talk all day every day without error.

It happened because the RW seized on it & drove it into the MSM, where a glib narrative-fitting story is valued far more than accuracy. And the left has no machine to drive the counter-narrative. So, voi la, Hillary became the "put coal miners out of work" candidate.

This happens over & over & over, and for some reason Dems just keep being willing to blame the candidates. Gore didn't do it right, Hillary didn't do it right, now AOC's not doing it right, on & on. As though some candidate could single-handedly overcome this asymmetry!

Pundits keep saying Dems should pick candidates that appeal to this or that demo, as though that's some intrinsic characteristic, as though the whole "appeal to X" genre isn't most fiction projected by pundits themselves. Dems are not allowed to define themselves.

I wish some of the young folks following the current campaign were around for the 2000 campaign, one of the most grotesque extended media hit jobs on a Dem candidate I've ever witnessed. They defined Gore as a hapless liar; when he pushed back, they used that against him.

Obama is basically the only national Dem candidate in my lifetime to have the charisma & talent to defy the narratives & establish his own (at least somewhat). But the Dem Party can't rely on nominating generational superstars every damn election.

As long as the channels through which parties communicate with voters are so grossly imbalanced -- "neutral" MSM on one side, hyper-ideological RW media on the other -- this shit will keep happening. And no, before you ask, I don't know what the solution is. Sigh. </fin>

Good lord, even in comments to this very thread, people are talking like Rs have a natural talent for "framing" & Dems are bad at it. Y'all, the whole point of the fcking thread is that what voters hear about Dems bears little relation to how Dems talk or what they talk about.

Hillary: I want to spend billions protecting coal miners.

Media: Hillary wants to immiserate coal miners.

Dems: Hillary should really quit talking about immiserating coal miners. She should talk about protecting them. Dems are so bad at messaging!


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