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Both sides do it again

Both sides do it again

by digby

Axios commissioned this poll to tell us that both sides do it:

Many Americans think people in the other party are ignorant, spiteful, evil and generally destroying the country, according to a new Axios poll by SurveyMonkey, aired on HBO on Sunday night. 61% of Democrats see Republicans as "racist/bigoted/sexist." 31% of Republicans say they view Democrats in the same light.

If Americans are this convinced that the other side isn't just wrong, but dumb and evil, they'll never be able to find enough common ground to solve real problems. And they're more likely to elect leaders who can't do it, either.

The suspicion runs so deep that a third of all Americans say they'd be disappointed if a close family member married someone whose partisanship didn't match their own, according to the poll for "Axios on HBO."

The percentage saying they'd be at least somewhat bothered by this jumps to 50% among liberal Democrats; it's 32% among conservative Republicans.

For both parties, more moderate affiliates are about 20 percentage points less likely to say they'd be disappointed.


About half of Democrats think Republicans are ignorant (54%) and spiteful (44%). Likewise, about half of Republicans think Democrats are ignorant (49%) and spiteful (54%).

21% of Democrats think Republicans are evil, and about the same share of Republicans (23%) think Democrats are evil.
How Democrats view Republicans:

Of the 22% who provided open-ended descriptions of Republicans, responses included: selfish, greedy, corrupt, spineless, fearful and bad.

How Republicans view Democrats:

Of the 26% who provided open-ended descriptions of Democrats, responses included: socialist, angry, hypocritical, uniformed, power-hungry and violent.

The other side: Good news! A handful of people think their fellow Americans are OK.

4% of both parties think the other side is fair.
3–4% of both parties think the other side is thoughtful.
2–3% of both parties think the other side is kind.
Yes, but: The share of Americans who have more generous impressions is roughly equal to the poll's margin of error, which is 3%.

The bottom line: Both parties are being redefined around the extreme emotions shaping extremely ugly views of each other. That means that, as the midterm elections proved, there's less room for moderates or centrists in the current political environment — a dynamic that's likely to get worse before it gets better.


If you want to know where all this began in the modern era, this tells the tale. (Hint: it wasn't the left.)

Language: A Key Mechanism of Control

Newt Gingrich's 1996 GOPAC memo

As you know, one of the key points in the GOPAC tapes is that "language matters." In the video "We are a Majority," Language is listed as a key mechanism of control used by a majority party, along with Agenda, Rules, Attitude and Learning. As the tapes have been used in training sessions across the country and mailed to candidates we have heard a plaintive plea: "I wish I could speak like Newt."

That takes years of practice. But, we believe that you could have a significant impact on your campaign and the way you communicate if we help a little. That is why we have created this list of words and phrases.

This list is prepared so that you might have a directory of words to use in writing literature and mail, in preparing speeches, and in producing electronic media. The words and phrases are powerful. Read them. Memorize as many as possible. And remember that like any tool, these words will not help if they are not used.

While the list could be the size of the latest "College Edition" dictionary, we have attempted to keep it small enough to be readily useful yet large enough to be broadly functional. The list is divided into two sections: Optimistic Positive Governing words and phrases to help describe your vision for the future of your community (your message) and Contrasting words to help you clearly define the policies and record of your opponent and the Democratic party.

Please let us know if you have any other suggestions or additions. We would also like to know how you use the list. Call us at GOPAC or write with your suggestions and comments. We may include them in the next tape mailing so that others can benefit from your knowledge and experience.

Often we search hard for words to define our opponents. Sometimes we are hesitant to use contrast. Remember that creating a difference helps you. These are powerful words that can create a clear and easily understood contrast. Apply these to the opponent, their record, proposals and their party.

abuse of power
anti- (issue): flag, family, child, jobs
betray
bizarre
bosses
bureaucracy
cheat
coercion
"compassion" is not enough
collapse(ing)
consequences
corrupt
corruption
criminal rights
crisis
cynicism
decay
deeper
destroy
destructive
devour
disgrace
endanger
excuses
failure (fail)
greed
hypocrisy
ideological
impose
incompetent
insecure
insensitive
intolerant
liberal
lie
limit(s)
machine
mandate(s)
obsolete
pathetic
patronage
permissive attitude
pessimistic
punish (poor ...)
radical
red tape
self-serving
selfish
sensationalists
shallow
shame
sick
spend(ing)
stagnation
status quo
steal
taxes
they/them
threaten
traitors
unionized
urgent (cy)
waste
welfare


Rush Limbaugh was made an honorary member of the Republican freshman class of 1994. Roger Ailes started Fox News in 1996.

Everyone talks about right wing backlash and constantly warns the . But maybe, just maybe, it was the right's calculated demonization that caused this in the first place? Just throwing that out there ...