Friday, July 11, 2003

The Achilles Heel of the RNC

Earlier this week a friend of mine received a solicitation from the Republican National Committee. The solicitation proceeded to thank her for her continued support, glorify the supposed successes of the Bush administration, and respectfully request a donation for next year's big fight. My friend is a widowed retiree from Tennessee who tells great stories about her family's farm during the Great Depression. She also hasn't voted for a Republican in fifty years.

This isn't a new thing. Several times over the last year, friends and family members have received these mailings despite being registered Independents or Democrats. The method of the RNC seems to be one of simple demographics; age, race, and income level. What's really interesting is that instead of sending a mailing that makes a case for the Republican party, they word it assumming you already vote Republican. There's almost a Jedi mind trick ethos behind it. "You don't want to vote Democrat or Independent. In fact you never have. We're the party you want, the party you've always wanted."

The problem is that, particularly in the case of my friend, the mailings make people angry. She wrote a long letter back to the RNC detailing exactly why she didn't support the Republican Party and why she would never support Bush. She also made a copy of the solicitation and her reply to her alderman who is a well-liked progressive in her area. For her it proved everything she didn't like about Republicans. Because she is an elderly White woman from the South, they assumed she was prospective constituent, when in fact she's a longtime FDR Democrat.

This lack of understanding comes back to haunt the Republicans time and time again. The Democrats simply haven't used it against them. The DLC and all too often the DNC tend to cave in the face of the conservative spin machine. This is why there was no formidable Congressional opposition to the war on Iraq or tax cuts or the Patriot Act. They simply believe that the Republicans message is more effective than it is.

My friend's method gave me an idea. I'm not sure how effective it will be, but it may go a little way in restoring the DNC's confidence in a progressive platform. The next time you write a letter to the editor, a state representative, or in response to an RNC solicitation, mail a copy to the DNC. I'm not sure how new this idea is but I don't think enough people do it. There's been a little success as of late to get the DNC to listen to grassroots organizations, and this might be one other thing we can do to encourage them to keep listening to us.

Right now there is a petition for Congress to investigate WMD deceptions. After you send your letter, copy it to the DNC to let them know that this is important to you.

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