For decades, Democrats struggled to get their policy positions across against the superior messaging strategies of the GOP, who were masters at mind manipulation through focus-group-tested words and phrases steeped with moral resonance. This finely-honed skill-set has won them elections based on people’s enthusiasm over the notion that they could be the recipients of “trickle down economics” from the rich; their fear of so-called “Death Panels”; their loathing of dreaded “Death Taxes”; and their anger over their alleged “Right to Work.”
With massive resources built up over many years, GOP Strategist Frank Luntz has long been the party’s go-to guy for their universally-used talking points. The fact that they pretty much have one guy to whom they turn for their “winning words,” and that they are disciplined enough as a party to fall in line behind the use of specific catch phrases, has kept them head-and-shoulders above Democrats who have often been described as akin to ‘herding cats’ when it comes to staying on message.
But 2012 saw both a reversal of fortune and a reversal of results for the Democratic party as Republican party members went off message and started letting their true feelings be heard. Democrats have long known that the right wing’s advocacy against a woman’s reproductive freedom was less about their moral feelings towards the fetus — they have no problem with killing living, breathing humans under conditions they deem acceptable — and far more about their deep-seated, paternalistic desire to maintain complete control over women themselves. But getting this message across and having people believe you’re speaking the truth has been an elusive endeavor for the Democratic party.