Sunday, October 23, 2016

Saying your opponents won't show up to vote may work as unintentional reverse psychology

[I wrote this Saturday with the intention of posting it Monday, but events are moving rapidly so I decided to bump it up.]

A popular sidewalk stencil in Echo Park.

I don't want to get too bogged down in the details of this specific case which may well come to nothing. The interview could, however, turn out to have legs and, even if it doesn't, it's representative of a larger class of stories.

In a strange way, the official message of the Trump campaign to both supporters and opponents has been "your vote does not matter." For supporters, the message has been that the election will be rigged, and their votes stolen. For opponents, the often explicit and always blatant strategy has been one of suppression and counting on low turnout.

These strategies have a great potential for unintended consequences and when you combine them with other aspects of this campaign such as the uniquely bad standing of Trump among Latinos, African-Americans, and women or the unprecedented imbalance in ground game, you have the potential for some serious synergistic effects.

Under those circumstances, this article by Allegra Kirkland is the last thing the Trump campaign needs to go viral.

Former Arizona governor Jan Brewer declared Friday that Arizona won’t go blue for Hillary Clinton because Hispanic Democrats “don’t vote.”

“They don’t get out and vote. They don’t vote,” she told the Boston Globe when asked if those constituents could help tip the historically conservative state to a Democratic presidential nominee.


Nationally, Donald Trump’s rhetoric about Latino immigrants has also helped boost Clinton’s popularity among Latino voters, with one recent Pew Research survey handing her a 39-point advantage over her Republican opponent.


“It’s wishful thinking on their behalf,” Brewer told the Globe of the Clinton campaign’s efforts to win the Grand Canyon State. “Donald Trump is going to secure the border and that is a very important issue in Arizona.”

Brewer was an early supporter of the real estate mogul who has praised his disparaging comments about Latinos.

After the real estate mogul made his infamous campaign announcement speech denigrating Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and “criminals,” Brewer commended him for “telling it like it really, truly is.”

And there's already evidence that the attempts at suppression are backfiring (this time from Kirkland's editor, Josh Marshall):

We're now seeing numerous examples across the country of extremely long lines and long waits to vote - especially in states which took steps since 2012 to make it harder to vote and vote early. North Carolina is one of the best examples of this. People are waiting three and four hours to vote. It's genuinely shameful that we, as a society, find this acceptable. And yet millions of people are lining up to vote. They are undeterred.

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