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Why Kerry Lost the E

January 25, 2006

Why Kerry Lost the Election: reason UnReason

I subscribe to Salon, so for those who don’t I may occasionally lift an article or idea and pass it along.  I don’t think that blogs should rehash every one else’s blogs (if you are reading mine, you are probably reading much of what I read as well—birds of a feather sort of thing).  Yet, here goes.

The “War Room” in Salon has a story citing a study that looked at the MRI scans of politically minded folks being confronted with a logical argument for or against their preferred candidate (Bush ran an effective campaign of literacy in Texas; Kerry did vote for the War in Iraq…the sort of thing true believers don’t want to hear).  

Lo and behold the scans showed that reason was not in play.  When confronted with information that was against their boy, the respondents chose to not think about it.  Denial, it seems, is political.  

It should be no surprise, though.  In the pre-history it would seem that emotional allegiance would aid just as much as intellectual allegiance, if not more.  If Alexander was marching his way through Turkey, and I lived in a small hut, I would probably back the winner.  Dogs follow the alpha-male.  So, it is no surprise to me that emotion trumps reason, especially after an allegiance has been made.  Talk to the other side and you will see this play out in person…no need for an MRI.  Facts in politics appeal to the converted…ok…maybe to that small margin who want to be converted as well.  Facts do not, though, appeal to a believer.  They often get in the way.

So what is Kerry to do?  Grow a personality.  Appeal emotionally.  Get righteous.  Punking out when the Swift Boat ads came out, while an arguably reasoned response was an emotional retreat.  

People liked to watch McEnroe over Lendle.  


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