04.23.2012 08:40 PM

In today’s Sun: why cons are winning

But that’s just politics. When Canadians are probed about their attitudes and identities — the deep-down, emotional stuff that doesn’t easily lend itself to words, but which drives political choices — conservatives increasingly dominate.

Following the lead of U.S. conservatives in the 1960s, the Canadian right has become far better at communicating (thus its near-total dominance of editorial voices), and it has become much better at promoting conservative values (thus its ability to convince average folks to vote against their economic interests).

Canadian conservatives don’t run everything — yet. But like their U.S. counterparts, Canadian right-wingers have methodically sought to dominate at the level of words and values. They know that if they can capture voters’ hearts and minds, winning elections will be a piece of cake.

What matters most isn’t party affiliation. What matters is an emotional connection — and, right now, it’s conservatives who’ve got it.

Not progressives.

8 Comments

  1. bluegreenblogger says:

    Good article. Pretty well hits it on the head. What is interesting (and discouraging) about this fact is that Conservatives appeal by-passes the cerrebellum, and connects in a fact free environment deeper down where motivation lies ( let`s dub it the heart of darkness, lol). I for one still believe that you can connect to peoples hearts through rational arguments and persuasion. Obviously not during a campaign though, because any well reasoned arguments take time to relate, and time is what is lacking in a campaign. So as I have commented here before, define what the Liberal Party stands for. Systematically connect to, and organise people while you have time, and this too can be yours.

    • Chris P says:

      Conservatives have learned how to leverage and cultivate our most deep and rawest emotions to target (i.e. distract) the electorate by focusing on emotional reactions that tend to be mis-guided, basless and irrelevant. There is always a focus to target this raw emotion (anger) against: it’s gays, women, immigrants, civil servants, foreign countries etc.

      Progressives have to get alot better at blunting this emotion and retargeting it on other things. Not to mention understand how to get the message out across variuos media platforms.

    • Stephanie Powers says:

      Your wrong, quite bluntly. It’s the progressive side that relies on emotive arguments, nostalgia and attempts to appeal to people’s romantic notions of constructing the perfect society, albeit by having imperfect people weilding imperfect tools.

      And I would deny that conservatism is on the upswing or triumphing in any respect in the competition for ideas. Social conservatism is regularly pissed on as being neanderthal and regressive, when objectively social and fiscal conservatism are two sides of the same coin – but that doesn’t matter to the vast majority of the population who want to consider the debates on abortion, gay marriage, multi-culturalism and criminal punishment as passe and beneath dignifying.

      What is catching up to the world is reality – you cannot borrow from future generations indefinitely, especially when those successive generations are becoming smaller and smaller. That is what you are observing on the upswing; the dispassionate and rational assessment of where we are going wrong as a society.

      • on what planet are social and fiscal conservatism ‘objectively’ two sides of the same coin? Utter crap. Fiscal conservatism is little more, or less than a realisation that if you spend your future earnings today, then there will be nothing left for the future, while social ‘conservatism’ is essentially a reactionary and authoritarian movement, long since captured by religious kooks (of all sects and creeds). The social conservatives rely on emotion and hatred of ‘the other’ to motivate it’s adherents.
        And what the hell is a ‘progressive’ anyway? Liberalism on the other hand is a supremely rational school of thought, grounded in a worldly metaphysics, and dedicated to ensuring personal freedoms in the political sphere. But why I am wasting my time responding….

        • Chris P says:

          Ummm what he said.

        • Stephanie Powers says:

          You want “utter crap”? Equating liberal thought with “worldly metaphysics” is crap. The vanity of the left always amazes me.

          Social conservatism is nothing that you have described – what you are attacking is a leftist caricature of what you and your ilk may want to believe about social conservatives and their values. I am a social conservative. That doesn’t mean I’m in favour of a theocracy, and I would consider myself the opposite of reactionary – my interpretation of events and issues is through a prism consistent with my values, not subject to the emotions of the day.

          To be a fiscal conservate means ultimately advocating for affordable, smaller government, with strict limitations on its powers and mandates, and and thus the withdrawal of the nanny state from many facets of our lives because that is really the only path to a government that we can pay for.

          When you withdraw the state from people’s lives most still need support systems to deal with the various struggles of life and these have traditionally been family and churches and social communities. Hence why fiscal and social conservatism have to be flip sides of the same coin; you cannot withdraw government from people’s lives without at the same time supporting those traditional institutions that can fill the void.

          Without family, church and community the void will be filled with an amoral anarchy. Maybe if you knew more about what is happening on the ground floor of countries like Russia and others where the government withdrew and left a vacuum filled by mobsters and vodka-soaked youth gangs roaming the streets, you’d see my point. But I’m not holding my breath.

  2. fred says:

    http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1166667–anti-environment-measures-tucked-into-liberal-budget-bill#.T5X0NwfrYPU.facebook

    Warren, why is Dalton dismantling the environmental protections? This is going to piss a lot of people off. You would expect Hudak to make it easy for
    developer’s to bulldoze forests.

  3. Conservative Socialist says:

    “(thus its ability to convince average folks to vote against their economic interests)”

    A large chunk of the conservative grassroots would vote for a party that was socially conservative but economically liberal.

    Consider that the Deep South in the US was a large segment of FDR’s coalition during the New Deal years.

    The hillbillies vote Republican (or Conservative) to stick it to the effete elites who thumb their noses at them.

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