The following is a fictional account of the dialogue between a political science professor and the students of an honors seminar in an east coast liberal arts college.
The Professor liked to keep his class on their toes and ready to respond to any political issue. He stopped his pacing around the room and said, “I’m going to leave you for ten minutes. When I come back, I want one of you to present a Class question. Since it is a Class project you will all receive the same grade for the selection and presentation of the question. I expect a question that will be relevant to our political environment and yet will be a ground-breaking issue for the next decade.”
Several hands shot up as the Professor smiled and left the room. He thought he would like to watch the dynamics of the Class as they worked on selecting a question but he knew if he stayed in the class, the actions around the conference table would adjust to his presence. A big part of his curriculum was to expose students to the give and take of peer groups in the decision-making process.
Returning to the room, The Professor paused outside the class room and listened at the door for a few seconds. He was surprised at the silence. They must have come to some agreement. Walking in and taking his seat at the table, he asked, “Okay. Who is the lucky presenter?”
Edward said, “I am.”
“May I assume that the question is yours?”
“It is one I’ve thought about for some time. But it really is a class question. Should I begin?”
“The Republican Party has a fairly coherent message that resonated with Americans in the last election. Today the Democrats do not have a positive message, other than opposing President Trump on every issue. Yet the Democratic messaging routinely out performs that of the Republicans. Opinion leaders in the media, entertainment and education organizations seem to be taken with the Democratic Party’s message. Why is that?”
“That is a very good question and one that will be with us for at least the next decade. The question on the first level is easy to answer but difficult to explain in believable detail.
“The Democratic Party has been moving toward European style socialism for the last hundred years and probably longer. Their success is in their messaging. Their failure is in their inability to apply the socialist message to governing. But we are discussing the messaging today. The message when stripped to basics is one of class warfare. The promise is for a redistribution of wealth.
“Material wealth always seems to end up in the hands of a minority, leaving the majority to struggle for what’s left. The message of Democrats/Progressives to the majority who are not wealthy is to set them against the minority who they believe have more than they should have. The message of the Progressives is not to create more wealth or to improve social and economic mobility. Instead it is ‘you must take wealth from the minority who hold it by very high taxation rates, economic regulations, death taxes and heavy taxes on businesses. This Progressive message is very adaptable to slogans. Remember President Obama’s class warfare sound bites: level the playing field; give everyone a fair shake; the rich need to pay their fair share; transform America by redistributing wealth among individuals and nations; and protect the middle class.
“Don’t think the progressive message of the Democratic Party is too simple to be effective. It is not. When hope is vague and distant, the class warfare message is very effective and will thrive in a failing economy.”
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