Corrupt Hive

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The Narrative Part II

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This post over at The Confluence caught my attention as it was under related topics for my prior post. It is a good example of just why Hillary lost to Obama and what he understood that she did not. Elections are not won or lost based upon a narrative. Every election is won or lost at the precinct level, it’s won by knocking door to door, getting out the vote. The reason the PUMAs are so angry is that the bought into Hillary’s narrative and that narrative didn’t come true; in their eyes the guy with the “black hat” won.

Narratives don’t win elections. The reason for this is rooted basic human psychology. Stories appeal to people; Hollywood is good at stories; the main stream media is good at stories. Stories excite people and interest them. Stories are great for selling advertising, stories are great for enhancing a persons appeal. I am the last person to underestimate the power of stories in political and social discourse.

But what stories do not do is get people off of their couch, away from their computers, and into the voting booth. No story does that, has ever done that, is going to do that. There is a huge psychological difference between making a product appealing and what advertisers call “the buying decision”. Statistics show that 80% of the people a candidate personally meets will vote for that candidate. Why? For the same reason that you find in hard to turn down your friend when he knocks at your door and says lets go see a film. Personal interactions matter, what is often called “face time”.

Hillary had a narrative and an effective one; it got her 18 million votes. But Obama beat her precisely because he went out and earned it; he put together an organization–and by organization I mean a group of people–that worked their ass off to get out the vote. Does Obama have a narrative? Sure he does. But he didn’t lose himself it that narrative; he didn’t confuse that narrative with reality. He never believed that victory was his right or his generational due. It strikes me to this day that during the primaries and even the general election so far, the only person from any party or faction to visit my house was a Obama supporter, someone from my neighborhood. That is why Obama was able to overtake Hillary and why he won. He went door to door, house to house, in hand-to-hand combat, and he worked the system. He won the old fashioned way, he earned it.

There is nothing wrong with a story, nothing wrong with having a narrative. When the author over at The Confluence asks “So what have the Democrats and the Obama campaign done to rebut the [Republicans] narratives? I’ll have to get back to you on that.” that’s the good news. Because Obama isn’t going to beat McCain by fighting in the media, by reducing the fight to narrative vs narrative. Success in life doesn’t happen simply because you keep telling yourself you are a success. A wise person once said that, “There is only a fleeting difference between the trappings of sexual success and sexual success.” But as some Buddhists would say, “In the blink of an eye, you missed seeing.” The difference between the story and reality may only be fleeting, but in that fleet moment is an entire lifetime, an entire generation. Some of Hilliary’s supporters still can’t believe that in a blink of an eye, they missed seeing. But they did; that is reality.


Written by Daniel

September 7, 2008 at 9:45 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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