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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Teixeira: The Not So Interested American

The following article by Ruy Teixeira, author of The Optimistic Leftist and other works of political analysis, is cross-posted from The Liberal Patriot:

John Halpin makes an important point at The Liberal Patriot: most Americans aren’t particularly engaged by politics yet political parties must still figure our how to reach them. Hint: It’s probably not through your favorite political hobby horse.

“Here’s a suggestion for the two political parties: create a research and communications arm staffed only by people who don’t pay any attention to politics whatsoever and instead inhabit the sociological contexts most Americans occupy in terms of their families, workplaces, media consumption, and local peer groups. No fancy graduate school degrees required. No following Twitter feuds about people’s tone and issue priorities. No debates about Build Back Better or regime change or critical race theory or Trump’s stolen election fictions.

This new research arm could end up being the most valuable branch of party affairs because it is closer to the reality of vast numbers of Americans who couldn’t care less about politics and government.

As background for the new department, study the Pew Research Center’s excellent 2021 study on political typologies. This report presents more useful information about the public and the complex landscape of American political life than any ten “message” surveys around. Consider these important findings:

A scant 9 percent of Americans say they grew up in a family that talked a lot about politics at home. Nearly 6 in 10 Americans report not really discussing politics much if at all growing up. The reality facing the two parties is that most Americans are not socialized into politics in any meaningful manner.”

Read the whole thing at The Liberal Patriot. Also relevant: Stealth Democracy by Hibbing and Theiss-Morse.

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