Reich on mediocrity of middle ground

Nathan Newman nathan at
Mon Oct 30 08:31:17 PST 2000

----- Original Message ----- From: "Gordon Fitch" <gcf at> To: <lbo-talk at>

>Reich's analysis seems incorrect to me. The application of
>more sophisticated technology should enable one to do more
>with less. If the aim were to get voters excited about the
>election and the candidates, advanced marketing techniques
>could be expected to use fairly modest resources to create
>passionate responses, leading to an unstable electorate and
>the likelihood of landslides and upsets.

That's assuming that marketing really creates desire and is such a good tool for manipulation. What marketing in its modern form most allows is finding the marginal consumers/voters who are least passionate about their preferences and subtly move them to an alternative.

With the electoral college knocking many states off the board and making appeals to the strongest loyalists in each party somewhat useless, what modern polling and marketing concentrates on in these elections is targetting the least passionate voters. Polling allows an increasingly accurate read on which issues stroke this relative handful of swing voters in swing states and both candidates seek substle variations on the same themes to appeal to those passionless voters.

Not surprisingly, the result is a pretty passionless campaign.

In a more unstable economic or foreign policy situation, the undecides might not be so passionless and the swing appeal thereby itself less boring, but in the present situation, the result is the mediocrity of appeals that Reich notes.

-- Nathan

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