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Tim Wise
1/ If the Dems blow this election it will not be because they were "too far left on policy" or because they "weren't left enough." It will have little to do with policy at all. They are making a mistake caused by traditional consultant theory that does not apply here...
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
2/ And by listening to influential pundits in liberal media who also don't get the unique nature of Trumpism, relative to normal political movements & campaigns...this election is NOT going to be won by talking about all your "great plans" for health care, jobs, education, etc..
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
3/ And the reasons are several...Let me begin by saying that I have experience confronting the kind of phenomenon we see in Trumpism, and far more than most. Any of us who were involved in the fight against David Duke in LA in 90/91 know what this is and how it must be fought...
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
4/ So before explaining what the Dems are doing wrong right now, a little history...In 1990, white supremacist David Duke ran for U.S. Senate in LA, and in 1991 for Governor. He lost both times but both times he won the majority of the white vote (60 and 55% respectively)...
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
5/ I was one of the staffers of the main anti-Duke PAC at the time & ultimately became Assistant Director. In 90, even though our Director Lance Hill, myself & a few of our founders wanted to focus on Duke's bigotry, ties to extremists and appeals to white racial resentment...
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
6/ ...after all, that WAS the issue--it was a moral struggle against racism--we had mainstream Democratic consultants who warned us against focusing too much on it. They said that "played into Duke's hands" and allowed him to set the agenda....
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
7/ So sure, we could discuss his ties to Nazis & such, but we shouldn't make a big deal out of his contemporary racist appeals, per se, bc "lots of voters agree" with those appeals...they even encouraged us to talk about utterly superfluous shit like Duke paying his taxes late..
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
8/ Or Duke avoiding service in Vietnam, or Duke writing a sex manual under a female pseudonym (yeah he did that)...although Lance held firm that we needed to talk mostly about racism, we did end up talking about some of that other stuff too, sadly...
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
9/ I say "sadly" because doing that normalized Duke as a regular candidate. Attacking his generic character or bill paying habits (or even discussing his inadequate plans for job creation, etc) treated him like a normal candidate. But he was/is a NAZI...
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
10/ And none of his voters were voting 4 him bc of jobs, or tax policy or support for term limits, etc. And none were going to turn on him over late tax payments, Vietnam, etc. Indeed throwing that stuff out there & downplaying the elephant in the room (racism) seemed desperate..
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
11/ It allowed people to say "well if he's really this racist, white supremacist, why are they talking about all this other stuff?" It actually undermined our ability to paint him as the extremist he was/is. And as a result, the threat he posed was not clear enough to voters...
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
12/ And this didn't just allow him to get votes he might not have gotten otherwise; it also depressed turnout among people who almost certainly disliked him but didn't think he could win or would be all that big a deal if he did. In fact I recall convos with "liberals"...
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
13/ ...Who said they weren't going 2 vote bc after all Duke's Dem opponent was just a shill for the oil and gas industry, and that was just as bad, blah blah fucking blah...because some lefties can't tell the difference between corporatist assholes and actual literal Nazis...
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
14/ But we bore some responsibility for that because we got suckered into playing this conventional game and "not playing into his narrative." Anyway, Duke gets 60% of the vote, black and white liberal turnout is lower than it should have been and Duke gets 44% of vote...
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
15/ In the Governor's race we dispensed w/ all that bullshit. We talked about Duke's ongoing Nazism and the moral/practical evil of his racist appeals. We discussed how that moral evil would have real world consequences (driving tourists and business away, rightly so, from LA)..
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
16/ Because it was wrong, and it was not who we wanted to be, and it was not who were were. We were better than that and needed to show the rest of the country that...
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
17/ Now, did this flip any of Duke's 1990 voters? Nah, not really. Indeed he got 65k MORE votes in the Governor's race than the Senate race. But it was never about flipping them. We knew that would be almost impossible...
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
18/ To flip Duke voters would require that they accept the fact that they had previously voted for a monster, and people are loath to do that. Our goal was not to flip them, but to DRIVE UP TURNOUT among the good folks, many of whom stayed home in 90...
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
19/ And that is what happened. The concerted effort of the anti-Duke forces (not just us), challenging Duke's "politics of prejudice," and making the election about what kind of state we wanted to be, drove turnout through the roof...
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
20/ 28,000+ registered on one day alone, between the initial election and runoff (which Duke made bc of the state's open primary system), with tens of thousands more overall: most of them, anti-Duke folks...
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
21/ When it was over, Duke had gotten 65k more votes than in 90, but his white share went to 55 (from 60) and overall to 39 (from 44) because the anti-Duke turnout swamped him...So what does this have to do with 2020 and Trump? Do I really need to explain it?...
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
22/ First, trying to flip Trump voters is a waste of time. Any of them who regret their vote don't need to be pandered to. They'll do the right thing. Don't focus on them. That said, very few will regret their vote. They cannot accept they voted for a monster or got suckered...
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
23/ Duke retained 94% of the folks he got the first time out (and got new people too), as Trump likely will. So forget these people--or at least don't wast time tailoring messages to them. And policy plans for affordable college don't mean shit to them, nor health care...
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
24/ Their support for Trump was never about policy. It was about the bigotry, the fact that he hates who they hate...Second, as for the "undecideds." ...Not many of these but seriously? If you're still undecided at this point about this guy...
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
25/ Then there is almost no way to know what would get you to make up your mind...I doubt it's a plan to deal with Wall Street though, or infrastructure, or tax policy...
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
26/ If anything, I would say crafting an argument that this is an existential crisis for the nation--and making it about Trump's bigotry and who we want to be as a country, would be far more effective in inspiring them to make up their minds...
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
27/ And what I know for a FACT is that this message--that Trumpism is a threat to everything we care about and love about this country--is what will inspire the Dem base to vote...and THAT is what this election is about...
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
28/ I'm not saying the Dems don't need policy ideas, but focusing on wonky, look-how-much-I've-thought about-this stuff is not going to move the needle in 2020...
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
29/ What the left never understands is: we need to stop approaching elections like the goddamned debate team, and start approaching it like the right does, like the cheerleading squad...
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
30/ The right knows psychology and we know public policy and sociology...great. The latter does not win elections...
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Tim Wise Jul 21
Replying to @timjacobwise
31/ People who say the Dems should ignore Trump's race baiting because its some genius political strategy calculated to distract us, are idiots. He is no genius. And if you downplay it you NORMALIZE him. If you make this about policy, you NORMALIZE him. He is a racist...
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