We often hear about the need for ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking. Personally, I greatly prefer people who can think creatively to stodgy credentialists. But we rarely see this kind of thinking in action.
Well, in his New York Post column, Instapundit Glenn Reynolds has an interesting idea about how the Republicans can attract low information, female voters, a group that the Democrats currently have locked down (emphasis added):
“Mitt Romney and the GOP lost, but it wasn’t for lack of money. They spent a lot; they just didn’t get enough bang for the buck.
Billionaire Sheldon Adelson alone donated $150 million. But Romney lost anyway, especially among unmarried women.
Which is why I think that rich people wanting to support the Republican Party might want to direct their money somewhere besides TV ads that copy, poorly, what Lee Atwater did decades ago.
My suggestion: Buy some women’s magazines. No, really. Or at least some women’s Web sites.
One of the groups with whom Romney did worst was female “low-information voters.” Those are women who don’t really follow politics, and vote based on a vague sense of who’s mean and who’s nice, who’s cool and who’s uncool.
Since, by definition, they don’t pay much attention to political news, they get this sense from what they do read. And for many, that’s traditional women’s magazines — Redbook, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, the Ladies Home Journal, etc. — and the newer women’s sites like YourTango, The Frisky, Yahoo! Shine, and the like.
The thing is, those magazines and Web sites see themselves, pretty consciously, as a propaganda arm of the Democratic Party. So while nine out of 10 articles may be the usual stuff on sex, diet and shopping, the 10th will always be either soft p.r. for the Democrats or soft — or sometimes not-so-soft — hits on Republicans.
When a flier about getting away with rape was found in a college men’s bathroom, the women’s site YourTango (“Your Best Love Life”) led with the fact that the college was Paul Ryan’s alma mater in a transparent effort to advance the Democrats’ War on Women claim that Republicans are somehow pro-rape. A companion article was “12 Hot Older Men Who Endorse President Obama.””
Similar p.r. abounded across the board: Sandra Fluke is a hero; Sarah Palin is a zero. Republicans are all old white men (women or minority Republicans get mocked or ignored).
This kind of thing adds up, especially among low-information voters. They may not know or care much about the specifics, but this theme, repeated over and over again, sends a message: Democrats are cool, and Republicans are uncool — and if you vote for them, you’re uncool, too.”
“For $150 million, you could buy or start a lot of women’s Web sites. And I’d hardly change a thing in the formula. The nine articles on sex, shopping and exercise could stay the same. The 10th would just be the reverse of what’s there now.
For the pro-Republican stuff, well, just visit the “Real Mitt Romney” page at snopes.com, or look up the time Mitt Romney rescued a 14-year-old kidnap victim, to see the kind of feel-good stories that could have been running. For the others, well, it would run articles on whether Bill Clinton should get a pass on his affairs, whether it’s right that the Obama White House pays women less than men, and reports on how the tax system punishes women.
This stuff writes itself, probably more easily than the Spin Sisters’ pabulum”
This dovetails into my own theory about the nature of political moderates, which is that us political junkies completely misread ‘centrists’, ‘moderates’ and ‘independents’. We mistakenly assume that they care about issues as much as we do, and that they find a candidate distasteful when they don't like his issues: i.e. he is ‘too extreme’. In fact, these people don’t give a fig about policy at all. It is deathly boring to them. They are barbecues and ballgames people. This is why I like Reynold's name for them, “low information voters.”
This explains why the advice of the Red Tory (or RINO, south of the border) consultant – to drop 'extreme issues’ - is usually so wrong. You tick off your base while the people this triangulation is suppose to appeal to, are oblivious to what you just did. Right wing, left wing, wing, schwing: your low information voter couldn’t care less.
So how do you appeal to these people? Through indirect methods and appeals to emotion via, say, articles in women's magazines.
But, to paraphrase the professor, read his whole article.