So sockpuppet-master Glenn Greenwald (that never gets tiresome, does it?) rips into Larry O’Donnell for not being progressive enough – really!!
The core of Greenwald’s electoral argument, though, is one that needs to be examined. He says that:
As for the substance of our discussion, O’Donnell — in standard cable TV form — basically had one simplistic point he repeated over and over: exit polls show that only a small minority of voters (a) self-identify as “liberal” and (b) agree that government should do more. There are so many obvious flaws in that “analysis.” To begin with, exit polls survey only those who vote; it excludes those who chose not to vote, including the massive number of Democrats and liberals who voted in 2006 and 2008 but stayed at home this time. The failure to inspire those citizens to vote is, beyond doubt, a major cause of the Democrats’ loss…
This is the Left’s version of a tune the Right often plays as well…”if only we had candidates as pure as our electorate.”
In which they imagine the hidden voters springing forth, bosoms heaving, in response to the Man On The White Horse (or with the correct ideological spin). My reaction is “whatever”. But it’s a real question.
Lots and lots of people don’t vote. Would they be inspired by a True Believer on either side – and more to the point, since I care about the future of the Democratic Party – if there were a goodlooking, articulate Dennis Kucinich, would these hidden voters return like the Hidden Imam?
I’m dubious, and have been dubious for a while. The candidates who tend to pull new voters in tend to be charismatic populists with huge name recognition like Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwartzenegger. You know, celebrities.
According to months of data from leading media-research company Experian Simmons, viewers who vote Republican and identify themselves as conservative are more likely than Democrats to love the biggest hits on TV. Of the top 10 broadcast shows on TV in the spring, nine were ranked more favorably by viewers who identify themselves as Republican.
Liberals appreciate many of the same shows, mind you. But their devotion typically is not quite as strong as right-wingers, and Dems are more likely to prefer modestly rated titles.
Basically, political preference is highly correlated with program choice, according to Experian Simmons.
And the shows that conservatives like are significantly more popular than the shows liberals like.
I’m not going to claim that this is deeply dispositive; it’s suggestive.
But it suggests a country where a lot more missing voters would vote for a Jesse Ventura than for a Dennis Kucinich.
I kind of hope that the Democratic strategists are thinking about that…