If Liberals Really Want to Defeat the Republican Party, It Starts By Doing This One Thing

barack-obama1I don’t often give Republicans much credit for anything, but one thing they do very well is produce a straight-forward and concise message to the public.  Now I’m not saying what they say is true — more often than not it’s filled with blatant lies — I’m just saying they do a masterful job at getting their “message” out there and controlling the argument.

On the flip side, this is something Democrats and liberals are often terrible at.

Granted, this is partly a fundamental problem.  Both the strength and weakness of the GOP is predicated upon the fact that their voters are easily manipulated and often don’t question what it is they’re told.  This combination is maddening for people who like to use those things we call “facts” when discussing the issues going on in this country, but for Republican politicians it’s the perfect set up to ensure that your constituents are all repeating the same talking points in each and every one of these discussions.

Yet, when it comes to liberals, our strength and weakness is also the same thing.  While our strength is that we’re diverse in our ideology, our weakness is also that diversity can at times dilute our message.  This often weakens our argument by making us appear fragmented and divided.

And the one thing liberals often never do is control the message.  Be it the healthcare law, the debt ceiling or the government shutdown—Republicans almost always seem to be the ones controlling the message.

Sure, Democrats get their jabs in, but they always seem to be on the defensive instead of the offensive.  It’s the GOP coming out and declaring some absurd “fact” that’s complete fiction, and the Democratic party spending all of their time trying to convince people that whatever nonsense Republicans are regurgitating isn’t actually true.

Even with the shutdown, I really wish every time a Democrat was on national television they just pounded over and over the fact that the entire shutdown happened because John Boehner was blocking the House from voting on a bill that would have prevented the shutdown to begin with.  And while I saw it sometimes, it wasn’t near enough.

But even before that, the entire message about the Affordable Care Act has been a disaster.  Not that the law has been a disaster, just the message.  Republicans, from day one, unleashed a campaign filled with so much misinformation that I honestly can’t even keep up with it.  From death panels to microchips to the “government takeover of health care,” the parade of lies coming from the GOP has been absolutely ridiculous.

And while most everything they said was completely inaccurate, they controlled the message well enough that the American people to this day really don’t know what is or isn’t true.

Republicans knew they never had to be truthful — they just needed to create enough doubt that the American people weren’t sure what was real and what was a lie.

But the issue of allowing Republicans to control the message doesn’t just stop at those two issues.  It’s a problem that’s plagued liberals for years.

Even now, with the Healthcare.gov site issues, it’s rare I see Democrats calling out the blatant hypocrisy by Republicans to act “appalled” at these “incompetent” issues when we experienced worse issues when Bush’s Medicare Part D rolled out in 2006.

The Republican party has done a good job at trying to paint President Obama as the president who’s trying to spy on the world, when in fact the powers for this level of intrusion started long before he ever became president.  Hell, the Patriot Act was passed under Bush with overwhelming GOP support.

But now they want to act shocked?  Please.

As liberals we must start controlling the message.  We must take to the offensive, instead of constantly being on the defensive.  We must take the fight to Republicans instead of countering their attacks.

And once we do this, once we dictate that facts will govern our nation rather than propaganda, the Republican party won’t know what the hell to do next.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • trekkie4ever1

    This article puts the entire blame on Democrats for not putting their message out, while completely ignoring the complicity of the corporate media. I’m not talking just about the FOX News propaganda machine. Way too many media outlets parrot Republican talking points instead of challenging them. They pretend to objectivity by doing the false balance of “one side says this, and the other side says something else.” If the Republicans were consistently called out on their lies the public would be informed as to who’s telling the truth. If one side says “The moon is composed mainly of Nickel and Iron” and the other side say’s “The moon is made out of green cheese”, the corporate media would just say both sides disagree about the moon, instead of reporting that one side is talking scientific fact, and the other side is bat sh*t crazy.

    • Pipercat


    • gemma liar

      the main problem is that when FOX “news” scum and the cohorts on regressive white trash radio shows ( beck/malkin/Hannity/Limbaugh et al) LIE there is no penalty. No one can fine them or place them in jail: ergo- the hitler-esque “tell lies enough they become truths” runs rampant— and the rightwing trash knows and loves this whilst hiding under “freedom of speech”

      • Pam_L

        Good points! However I wonder if it can be proven, according to Constitutional law, that their actions do enough damage to this country to qualify them as ‘domestic enemies’. I certainly think they fit that description. Their constant barrage of misinformation and lies encourages their racist base to disobey and disrespect the authority of the Federal government, not to mention how some rightwing companies like Fox deliberately employs people to push racism and other rightwing ideologies on social media. Their actions have damaged the ‘social fabric’ of this society and done harm to it’s citizens.

      • gemma liar

        yep– and let me let you in on a little secret: if FOX “news” came to me and said “here is a 500K paycheck yearly for 5 yrs with bonuses and raises based upon RATINGS and all U ( me) have 2 do is lambast and criticize and name call OBAMA” I would sign immediately. The hannitys and scum such as him are wealthy capitalizing upon the stupidity of the FOX “news” lemmings

      • Skyhollower

        So much these days Freedom of Speech equates to Freedom to Hate and Lie!

      • gemma liar

        sadly with high powered lawyers and tons of money that’s the way it is

    • 6RID8U6


    • Skyhollower

      Well Said!

    • Pat

      Isn’t it mainly Republicans who say they don’t believe in Science? Even when something has been proven to be fact. I agree that the corporate media, (TV, internet, radio) has really contributed to this problem. When I was a kid, I was taught that “other countries preach propaganda” to their people, through their media sources, but no, not the United States, we don’t do that, and now I think our media is doing the exact same thing, and the masses are believing it, truth or fiction. Why don’t more mainstream media sources report what is absolute truth, and call out the other media sources on their blatant lies? Are they all too “chicken” to do it? I want a media source that tells me the truth, all the time, and if they report something in error, they will report that what they said was erroneous, on the air, and correct themselves.

      • annicka

        I think the media is afraid because the right has continually pounded into people’s mind that it is “liberal biased”. And I believe this is a result of whenever the media has, in the past, called them out on their lies or disproven their “facts”, they are seen as an enemy. The media needs to grow some big balls and quit trying to look “balanced” by pandering to misinformation. I still laugh when I think of Katie Couric’s “gotcha journalism” that Sarah Palin used as an excuse for her ignorance.

      • Pat

        Totally agree with you, Annicka. Especially the part about the media needing to STOP pandering to the misinformation and report the truth. I think they would look more “balanced” if they reported the absolute truth, good or bad.

  • skyewalker

    Agree… but I thought the problem was that liberals are not being given equal time by MSM. Seems to me the GOTP characters have almost a monopoly on the media on a lot of platforms. I mean, look how often John McDufus is invited on MTP, he’s a regular there!

    • mngrayfox

      I have stopped watching Meet The Press for the express reason that Mr. Gregory is one biased newsman! This Week on ABC with George has a much more balanced approach and looks evenly at both sides.

  • becca

    I don’t think it makes sense to compare; liberals are just waiting. A lie is not “a message” at no part of the day. Those lying “messages” are to keep republicans engaged – that’s the only “message” they hear. Closet racists aren’t going anywhere – no matter what the message is. The door being opened on them is what we are in the midst of – riding it out until 2014.

  • I agree 100%! The Democrats have done a terrible job of countering Republican misinformation and disinformation, and an even worse job of being proactive and getting their messages out in the first place.

    • suburbancuurmudgeon

      I’ve said since the beginning the Democrats and Obama were really doing a bad job of explaining ACA.

      But I think the bigger problem is Democrats have a sense of shame and propriety that is congenitally absent in Republicans.

      • Pam_L

        Exactly! I said the same thing in my post about how the Left in general is far too ‘nice’. We are in an ideological battle with rightwingers and it will take ruthlessness to win, not polite manners.

    • gemma liar

      the girl in the photo is a doll 🙂

      • annicka

        Do you troll to hopefully get laid? lol

      • gemma liar

        cupcake,,,,, if U saw what I look like U would see I never need to troll. 6’2 210 basketball weight training and surfing,,,,,,,, blondish brown ( some grey) with blue eyes. my gal? 5’6 133 double D breast ( natural) of American indian and French lineage. I don’t HOPE to get laid

      • Christine Nyland

        President Obama?

      • gemma liar

        annickas former photo

      • gemma liar

        ooops,,,,,angeliques photo,,,, NOT annickas

  • Ty Lynn Ocell

    Democrats have sold out…thats why they cant get a message together. And the Affordable Care Act has been a disaster! It is more crony capitalism! Why couldnt we have copied France’s healthcare? They have more freedom of choice with plans, doctors and drugs. We’ve got a disaster! The democrats have not gone after their own party for their lack of civil rights protection!The democrats have not gone after their own party for their support of more wars! Bush may have started the patriot act, but Obama has expanded on them!Obama signed the anti protest bill Obama gave FDA control to Monsanto. Obama has prosecuted the most whislteblowers in history! I hate republicans but I also hate democrats for not fighting for civil rights!

    • George Merriweather

      The main difference between the power on the right vs the power on the left is simple. GOP/Tea Party Constituents get off their asses and go to the Town-Hall meetings/RNC Conferences. MOST OF ALL… THEY GET OUT AND VOTE IN ALL ELECTIONS.
      During President Obama’s first term…I believe all of us let him down. We went to polls in record numbers, voted him in. Then went back to watching TV/or whatever else we felt was important. Then we blamed him for an obvious lack of success in lots of areas. Never mind the fact that we had effectively thrown a newborn into a ravenous pack of hyenas’….
      And here we are again wondering what the f**k is going on? Well, here is little wake up call folks. Many of you commenting on this site are correct in your observations…”Both Parties are guilty of f**king of the American people in order to promote their individual political agendas.

      So where did ‘WE THE PEOPLE” DROP THE BALL? WE SAT ON OUR ASSES AND FAILED TO VOTE IN THE 2010 MID TERM. Which is precisely what the Tea Party expected us to do, and that allow them to take The HOUSE OF Representatives.
      We also have not protested all the damned Gerrymandering done by the Republicans. And until WE THE PEOPLE start to vigorously protest/fight back against the Political/Economic Terrorist. We need to STFU…

      • Ty Lynn Ocell

        Sorry but Obama let us down. Democrats and republicans have no issues when it came to expanding the wars, they had no issues in expanding the patriot act, the NDAA, NSA spying, killing of American citizens without trial. Notice how they agree 100% when it comes to taking away our civil rights? Stop being a sheep.

  • Pam_L

    I have said this same thing for years; that the Left is simply not ‘on the job’ as consistently as the Right. The Left, and to me that can encompass Democrats, Independents, Progressives, and Liberals, is ALWAYS on the defense while the Right (Republicans, tea partiers, Evangelicals, racists, etc.) are consistently on the offense.The Left spends way too much time reacting and doing damage control everytime the Right tells another lie. The Right NEVER seems to sleep–they never take a break from spreading crap and apparently work in shifts while the Left likes to take too many vacations, holidays and weekends off. And lastly, the Left is way too polite and accomodating, too considerate of the feelings of their enemies.Too ‘nice’, in other words. hey do not like to ‘stoop to the level’ of their adversaries by going on the attack, ostensibly because to do so is considered boorish and unintelligent. Therein likes the problem, imo. It is analogous to bringing a knife to a gunfight. Is is any wonder why the Right has done such a good job at confusing and clouding the issues?

    • George Merriweather

      Good points on all fronts…I have wondered why everyone seem to acquiesce when talking/or debating with Republicans. Damned near all the GOP members/or constituents are conversational Bullies. They act as though their point is the only one that should be heard or respected. Because, they always try to over talk the other party. Even when it’s the media…Especially, the other person point is in opposition to theirs. I think more of us to provide Repubs with a 55 gal can of STFU…!

      • Pam_L


  • Ron Unger

    It’s not about WINNING.. or DEFEATING..
    You are talking about the well being of our Society..
    You don’t defeat one or the other of the Parties.
    Republicans are openly “ignorant, and Selfish”
    Democrats – are swinging on what they stand for to gain votes.
    This mentality level of our political parties…
    Is why we are a laughing stock.

  • Unfortunately, most worthwhile things do not fit on a bumper sticker.
    And, for some reason, a *lie* doesn’t need any context, but if you’re speaking the truth, you often have to start from first principles and work your way forward, but then crowd loses its train of thought.
    If you’ve every seen the movie “Trains, Planes and Automobiles”, the bus scene where Steve Martin ‘leads’ the crowd in “Three Coins in the Fountain” no one knows what the song is and John Candy starts off the theme from The Flintstones and *everyone* starts singing.
    It’s kind of like that.

  • hatesdrugs

    Liberals are too nice. They don’t want to make the waves and cause the upheaval that the Republicans so love. Liberals just assume that people are too smart to believe the bullshit Republicans feed them and let lies slide. Well, they are not! Republicans need to be called out on their misleading information and outright lies. It’s time to educate the delusional red states to the facts of life.

  • Bonnie Branch

    Well I can certainly understand the quandry of the Dem politicians. Most lack the Confidence of CONVICTION so they don’t jump the gun with their Agendas and it goes against nature to DEFEND FACTS that are supposed to speak for themselves. IMHO the lies and misinformation are pickedup & ran with by the Repub goundsfolks because there stoked to irrational ANGER. Perhaps the Dems could do sme stoking of their own…just keep reminding us of what a Republican majority would do this country. There certainly woudn’t be a lack of FACTS to support them. FIRE THEM UP !!!

  • Pjs8200

    The article has a point…and it’s the same point that the dems have been trying to make since the 80’s….they just don’t have the same propaganda machine that the right does. However, that’s also because the right, in order to make sure their message is amplified and repeated ad nausem, they snared the religious sect. The left is missing that. We also don’t seem to have the ability to outright lie, fabricate and just make up bullshit like the right can.

  • Rod

    We get immobilized by thinking they outnumber us. Just get off your duff and vote, folks. See that last digit in the vote count for the more rational candidate? Is it a 7 rather than a 6 because you voted? Let that give you the strength to stand up and argue the rational side of the issue.

  • Matthew Reece

    Democrats should be careful what they wish for. If they defeat the Republican Party permanently, the most likely result is that the Libertarian Party will replace the GOP as the second party. The LP as a major party would be a far more potent foe than the GOP as an opponent to progressive liberals.

  • liberalcan8

    As a non-American living in MA. I have wondered about the “liberal media bias” as explained by the right. I have gotten more balanced reporting on the issues from the BBC and CBC than from any of the news outlets in the US.

    I am amazed that a few people can hijack the workings of the government while getting paid by the same .

    I feel that Liberals lack the big three of the Conservatives

    1. Religion/God Not that we are godless,but we do not speak with the so called moral authority of those who use church and faith to set policies.

    We do not tell our people that they will lose their soul/heavenly home for doing something other than what we propose.

    2. We use logic/reason/science to explain our worldview and our policies

    Humans are not always logical/rational or aware of recent scientific facts.

    People are always emotionally driven. Academic discussions of abortions and women’s rights, will never be as effective as graphic pictures of aborted fetuses, or emotional stories of how abortion scarred someone.

    3. Consistent and concise messages

    We tend to over explain some things, while assuming that other things are self explanatory.

    Because we value diversity of people and opinions we rarely force our members to “toe the party line”

    How many times have we heard Democratic politicians say things that are counter to those stated by the President? meanwhile Republicans all use the same phrases while consistently sticking to the party line.

    The ACA website issues is an example of Democrats publicly complaining saying this is “unacceptable” and a “disaster”. Contrast this behaviour with Republicans during the shutdown. Clear concise message “The President does not want to negotiate” The ACA is bad policy and cannot stand so our hand has been forced. Not one Republican went out of his or her way to say that it was not the way to run the country.

    American Progressives need to find a way to make their message stick. They need to be consistent on message across all media. Call out and refute the lies and misinformation by the right .Most importantly they need to start soon, time is of essence. 2014 and beyond

  • john stephenson

    It’s because liberals do things. They are for things. It seem that conservatives only complain about what liberals are doing. If conservatives ever did anything, then liberals could complain and they could control the agenda. But I’d rather try to solve problems than complain.

  • Socialmedic

    If Republicans confuse fascism with democracy it is THEIR problem. We shouldn’t make it ours. If people are stupid enough to get all of their information from and make voting decisions on the basis COMMERCIALLY produced advertising then maybe they deserve what’s coming. Clearly the advertising industry is making a killing on this and has no moral compass whatsoever. So long as corporations are doling out limitless billions to ad agencies to spew their lies ad agencies will gladly produce this fascist propaganda with impunity. It only works because IDIOTS in this country are too lazy to research matters on their own and are willing to believe everything they see on television. An idiot public deserves an idiot government. After 30 years of this crap I am about to throw in the towel. There are so many better examples of government in the world and for all this conservatism these days USA is ranking right down there with China and other third world countries in terms of income inequality, and even below in terms of health. To say this is the richest country in the world is a joke. The COUNTRY is not rich if only .03 percent of the population owns nearly all the wealth in it. Thank the couch potatoes who let advertising do the thinking for them. The Republicans have no shame and apparently there is no shame in being utterly stupid and manipulated. Should the democratic party stoop to festering fascist propaganda on the public the way republicans do? I would call that hypocrisy. Do I or anyone else have more than thirty years of our lives that has already been wasted by this republican coup to wait for the idiots to wake up? Will they EVER wake up?
    In the mean time Switzerland is passing laws to limit the amount of wealth CEO’s can squander above a percentage of the lowest earners in their company’s. Seems to me that is the kind of legislation that is required now that corporations have proven once and for all that business can not self-regulate. The Swiss like the idea of a LIVING minimum wage. Europe is at the forefront of mature and sophisticated thinking about the structure of their society. USA has become the bright and shining example of failure, of what not to be.

  • Sometimes it’s just Nuts

    DISLOYALTY has been a trademark of the left (well some, 15-30% typically) for over 30 years. Not showing up to vote is one major reason shows their disloyalty, Jumping on the bash Carter, bash Clinton and now Bash Obama bandwagons has been the other during their times as president.

  • Sara Mostafavi

    Republicans give straight-forward and concise messages? Hahahahaha! That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever met.

  • Lori Alayne Weber Miller

    You do not have to rehearse your story to obtain inter-rater reliability if your story is based on fact . The reason the conservative are getting their message out and it agrees is because the data backs them up. Observations is their best ally and democrats do not just appear fragmented and divided. they are fragmented and divided. There is not some huge brainwashing plot out there to get republicans to say the same thing. no we do not all watch Fox News.