We call them tea-baggers, astro-turfers, right wing-nuts, whack-jobs, etc. As with most derisive, dismissive labels applied to our fellow human beings, we reduce our humanity by reducing theirs.
A new study by Democracy Corps gives us some experiential focus group data to better measure and understand our opposition. A good summary article was posted today on the Huffington Post. To beat our opposition it's best to seek to understand their motivation, and not regard them too lightly.
From Sun Tzu - Art of War:
So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.
Key Lessons Learned:
1. 20% of voters live on a extreme right island of the political spectrum, they are 66% of all self-id'd GOPers
"The report concludes that the extreme GOP voters are not simply at the far end of a standard political continuum that runs left-center-right, but rather they stand fully apart.
The basic belief is that Obama -- a former community organizer who seemingly came from nowhere -- must have been propelled by some secret forces. This is no small segment of the population and represents almost one-in-five voters and nearly two-of-three self identified Republicans."
2. Swing voter and independents want Obama to succeed
"The researchers also spoke with swing-voters and independents and found a crucial difference: The independents wanted Obama to succeed, while the GOP base wanted him to fail. That's a logical extension of their belief: If they really do think Obama has a secret agenda to destroy the nation, it's patently patriotic to want him to fail. One author referred to it as an "ethical imperative" given what they think the agenda is.
"While these voters are disdainful of a Republican Party they view to have failed in its mission, they overwhelmingly view a successful Obama presidency as the destruction of this country's founding principles and are committed to seeing the president fail," reads the report."
cross-posted Daily Kos