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What the Pundits Missed

The usual pundits, for all their verbiage, have missed a lot, especially since they have nobody from the cognitive and brain sciences discussing election. Here’s part of what’s been missing from the discussion. First, conservatives have an extensive, but not obvious communications system, with many think tanks, framing experts, training institutes, a system of spokespeople linked by talking points, and bookers booking their people not just on radio and TV, but in lots of civic venues. This system is active not only in elections, but 24/7/365. Democrats have no comparable system. Second, demographers report that the big swing in this election was among “independents.” What are called “independents” are actually bi-conceptuals — people who have both conservative and progressive conceptual systems in their brains, each inhibiting the other and usually applying to different issues. When such voters hear messages from one side but not the other, that side’s moral system becomes active and is made stronger. That happened all over the country in this election. Third, voters vote on the basis of their morality and their sense of self, which is a reflection of their moral values. In this election, conservatives reached the bi-conceptuals over the past year and a half preaching their morality (e.g. freedom — government takeover; life — death panels). The Obama administration only countered with policy, which goes in one ear and out the other. No moral leadership via messaging. What is being missed is the enormous effect of this massive communications failure by the Democrats. Read the original post on The Huffington Post. George Lakoff is author of Don’t Think Of An Elephant, available now.


Romney, Ryan and the Devil’s Budget: Will America Keep Its Soul?

America was born with a great soul, a moral view of Democracy in which citizens care about their fellow citizens and join together to take responsibility not just for themselves but for each other, for America as a union, a joint enterprise. The government’s job was to carry out that moral vision and to do […] Read More..

The Public: Obama’s and Romney’s Opposed Visions for a Free America

America is divided about its future. Should it keep and expand the system that brought past opportunity, prosperity and freedom? Or should it dismantle that system? President Obama recently reminded us that private life, private enterprise, and personal freedom depend on what the public provides. “The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research […] Read More..

The Sacredness of Life and Liberty

The New York Times, on June 5, 2012, reported that so-called “morning-after pills” work by preventing women’s eggs from being fertilized, and not by preventing fertilized eggs from being implanted in the womb. The latest scientific findings show that “the pills delay ovulation, the release of eggs from ovaries that occurs before eggs are fertilized, […] Read More..

Appreciating Undocumented Americans

Last week on Independence Day, President Obama greeted new US citizens at the White House, taking the opportunity to speak once more about the need for comprehensive immigration reform, “We have to remain a nation of immigrants. And that’s why (…) we’re lifting the shadow of deportation from deserving young people who were brought to […] Read More..

How Occupy Wall Street’s Moral Vision Can Beat the Disastrous Conservative Worldview

OWS has a progressive moral vision. They’re protesting the disastrous effects that have come from operating with a conservative moral, economic, and political worldview. October 20, 2011 | I was asked weeks ago by some in the Occupy Wall Street movement to make suggestions for how to frame the movement. I have hesitated so far, […] Read More..