Suppose you live next door to a car dealer. And suppose you shop for a new car. You check out what he has to offer. You check out others. You buy a new car from one of his competitors.
He is disappointed you did not buy a car from him. More, he thinks you are stooopid for buying the car you did. And every time he sees you he lets you know this.
Sometimes he just shakes his head and smirks when he sees you get into your car. Sometimes he makes snarky remarks. Tells you you paid too much. Reminds you you will pay more in the long run. Because of the lousy gas mileage your new car gets.
He even goes to the extreme of planting a sign on his lawn. A sign with an arrow pointing toward your house. “I live next door to stooopid.”
Do you suppose his antics will cause you to want to buy a car from him? Ever? Probably not. Not in the next 300 years. Because you don’t like to do business with people who call you stooopid.
Right now prominent Democrats are calling millions of voters stooopid. In one way or another, they are. With their silly demonstrations. And their proposed marches. With their nasty remarks at the Golden Globes ceremony. With their pledges to fight the new president tooth and nail. On whatever he proposes.
They pounce on his every word. They denounce his every idea or remark. They condemn every person he proposes for his cabinet. Senator Schumer vows to battle him on his nominee for the Supreme Court. Before he knows who the nominee will be. He is virtually saying “My mind is made up against the nominee. Don’t confuse me with his or her name or merits.”
Do you suppose any of this is going to persuade Trump voters they might have made the wrong choice? And isn’t that the challenge the Democrats face? Don’t they need to attract voters toward their candidates and ideas? Is this a smart way to do it?
Or do you suppose the opposite? That when Democrats call voters stooopid maybe those voters become more stub-born about how they voted. Just like you become more stub-born about your choice of car when your neighbor scorns your choice.
This is not a revolutionary thought. Dale Carnegie expressed this. In his famous “How To Win Friends And Influence People” from 80 years ago. “If you argue and rankle and contradict, you may achieve a victory sometimes; but it will be an empty victory because you will never get your opponent’s good will.”
This was not a revolutionary thought when Carnegie introduced it. Greek and Roman philosophers beat him to it centuries before.
Democrats have lost a lot of ground the last eight years. At all levels of government. They have lost a lot of voters. How many do they expect to win back by calling them stooopid?
You might argue that Democrats have to resist Trump. They have to criticize him. That’s their job. To oppose, oppose, oppose.
It seems to me they will have more luck by putting forward better ideas. Imagine if they took a line like this: President Trump has proposed thus and such to solve this problem. We give him credit for trying. We understand what he is trying to do. Look at our proposal. You may see that it will solve the problem more quickly and for less money.
This sort of line would help your neighbor sell you a car some day. “I know you love your car’s safety system. And you should. But there are big improvements coming on our latest models. You might want to remember that next time you are shopping for a car.’
We will eventually hear this kind of positive message from Democrats. Not from the old leaders. They now stand humiliated and embarrassed. They are ticked off. New leaders will come forward sooner or later. They will replace scorn with positive messages. They will know that calling voters stooopid is never going to win them over.
Carnegie told us criticism is dangerous. Because it wounds a person’s precious pride. It hurts his sense of importance and arouses resentment. “If you want to gather honey,” he said, “don’t kick over the beehive.”
Democrat leaders of the future will be aware of another of Carnegie’s messages: “Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.”
From Tom…as in Morgan.