One of the things I most enjoyed about watching the Occupy movement implode was their profound lack of understanding of average Americans. They seemed to really believe that they could sway American opinion by screeching about the glories of communism, pooping on cop cars, setting up ’60’s-style communal “democracies,” using their hand twinkles and “human microphones,” and living in squalor in crime–riddled encampments.
At times, I simply couldn’t understand what in the world they—and their organizers—were thinking. Was this depraved display supposed to appeal to the typical American with a mortgage, a job, a family, a life? It was, of course, but it was so far off the mark that they ended up reviled and ridiculed.
Having apparently learned nothing from this—nor from other such attempts like Black Lives Matter and the “resistance”—the regressive left is again flipping back through the history books and landing on gimmicky tactics that seem more in-line with the mindset of radicals from the ’60’s than with that of any thinking person in the twenty-first century.
This time, they are dressing up as corpses replete with body bags, carrying around cardboard headstones (for the making of which they probably earned college credit), and engaging in “die-ins.” The overly-dramatic and laughable tactic is apparently supposed to enlighten Americans about the Republican Affordable Health Care Act (AHCA).
— Michael Kruse (@michaelkruse) May 9, 2017
One newly formed progressive super PAC is planning to cart caskets to Republican lawmakers’ districts and hold mock funerals for their constituents. Another activist is encouraging protesters to ship their own ashes — should they die without health care —to GOP lawmakers. And other progressive groups are planning graphic “die-in” protests as they work to derail GOP plans to repeal Obamacare.
Democrats, already frothing with anger over losing the White House to Donald Trump, are seething anew over the advancing Republican plan to gut Obamacare. Now, many on the left want to translate that fury into political tactics meant to exact maximum pain on Republicans.
Now, some liberal groups and activists are hoping to use macabre theatrics to gin up voter frustration toward Republicans over what Democrats view as a disastrous change in health care policy.
It’s a far more in-your-face tack than that being taken by more establishment organs of the Democratic Party, and the liberals behind it say that’s exactly the point.
Such tactics may indeed “exact maximum pain on Republicans” in Congress, who tend to twitch in fear and cave at the slightest pressure, but these ludicrous faux funerals, intended to “gin up voter frustration,” will have the exact opposite impact on those American voters who are not already in their camp.
American voters are going about their lives, enjoying their families, going to work, paying their bills, and focusing on things that actually matter to them. They are not focused on the health care debate, and if this is what they see of it, they are not going to be amused by, much less “ginned up” by, a bunch of radicals in body bags holding up cardboard headstones. They are going to roll their eyes, shrug, maybe shout insults at their televisions, and then they are going to move on with the left’s hyperbolic lunacy filed away as the left’s hyperbolic lunacy.
That the regressive left fails to see this, and indeed, thinks it needs to be “more visceral” is puzzling given that such spectacles are seen as embarrassing and disgraceful. Yet being “more visceral” is exactly their goal.
“We must be far more visceral,” said Jason Haber, a Manhattan real estate investor who started a super PAC that he said will host mock funerals — including “tombstones, coffins, even eulogies” — later this month for “the constituents that will be killed as a result of losing access to health care.”
Haber, who has worked in New York Democratic politics, said “in the age of Trump, nothing short of blunt and brute force will work as a counterweight,” adding, “We can’t win based on the merit of our ideas but rather on the way in which we deliver that message.”
To this, I say, excellent! Keep up the good work. Be more in-your-face, visceral, and by all means, let it be known far and wide that you are demonstrably devoid of any argument to support your ideas. Who needs ideas when you can play dress-up and play-act for shock value?
Sadly, though, it seems that not everyone on the left is on board with this approach.
Politico notes that a couple of Democrats do understand how this sort of thing plays outside the regressive bubble.
But the party is divided over the tactics its allies are using. Veteran operatives say the over-the-top theater could backfire just as political momentum on health care has shifted toward Democrats.
“Staging a funeral has a lot of shock value, but runs the risk of overplaying the hand and turning off swing, moderate or independent voters who would otherwise agree with us on this issue,” said Caitlin Legacki, a Democratic strategist who worked on the 2012 campaign of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).
T.J. Rooney, former chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, said mock funerals will have the same impact on the right as “the ghouls who carry pictures of aborted fetuses” have on the left.
“To those affected and their loved ones, they live the uncertainty every day and the hyperbole is offensive,” he said.
Hopefully, Congressional Republicans, rather than feeling “maximum pain,” will instead seek President Trump’s advice on how to deal with these off-putting displays of foot-stomping high drama.DONATE
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