🕷Dante Atkins🕷 Profile picture
Jul 17, 2022 11 tweets 2 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Whether you supported Fetterman in the primary or not, you have to acknowledge that he understands how to message and campaign in a way that resonates and has an impact, and that's something most Dems haven't figured out. Here's what I mean: 1/x
2/x he has taken one issue--the issue of Mehmet Oz' residency--and crushed him with it across every possible communications channel. From flyovers to trolling with Snooki, to more traditional communications, he has taken one particular point and hammered it.
3/x and that issue isn't a kitchen table issue, social issue, or a legal issue. It's not a policy issue at all! But it is an issue that speaks to authenticity and character that serves as a direct contrast to Fetterman himself.
4/x Oz is a multimillionaire Hollywood celebrity from New Jersey who parachuted across the river to run for Senate, and Fetterman is an authentic blue-collar Pennsylvanian. That's something voters understand.
5/x What Fetterman understands, and something that Republicans figured out a long time ago, is that policy is DOWNSTREAM from values and character. Policy is complex and can be obfuscated in most cases. Character is much harder.
6/x A lot of people used to (still do!) make fun of young people who supported Bernie in such large numbers without knowing the specifics of his policy platform. What those people don't understand is a political fundamental:
7/x people are not policy experts, and they know they are not policy experts. But if they trust your character and your values, they will be paying much less attention to your policy specifics because they trust you are on their side and will do the right thing.
8/x and how you present your character and values is a question of not just what you say in terms of your values, but your tone, your presentation, and the image you project. That's what resonates, that's what goes viral, that's what gets attention. Things that show you're human.
9/x If Lamb were the nominee, he would probably be running a traditional suit-and-tie campaign messaging around gas prices because that's what polls show the "voters care about." Fetterman has made that an irrelevant issue and has Oz chasing his own tail.
10/x if you polled Pennsylvanians before Fetterman's general election campaign, would anyone have told you they care that Oz is from across the river? No. But Fetterman made it an issue, one that plays to his strengths. And this is the main upshot that Dems need to learn:
11/11 stop chasing the voters on the issues that other people are setting the terms on. start with establishing personal character contrasts and allow the issue conversation to flow downhill from there.

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More from @DanteAtkins

Jul 13
The tankies absolutely can't stand that Eastern Europe immediately turned West after the collapse of the USSR because, amazingly, they wanted personal, political and economic freedoms. They were counting on Russia to punish Ukraine for making that same choice.
They absolutely cannot stand the fact that the people of Eastern Europe chose the US and NATO instead. They want that to be undone. They have to characterize it as US imperialism as opposed to what it actually was, because otherwise, it represents the victory of liberalism.
I, personally, am not offended by the people of Eastern Europe having freedoms as opposed to, say, the Stasi, even if I don't like the choices they sometimes make (see: Poland). The choice to end someone's self-determination has to cross a really high bar to be legitimate.
Read 5 tweets
Jun 13
Just because I'm thinking about it today: the DOJ is in fact applying a double standard to Trump, just, in the opposite way Republicans think. Anyone else who did what Trump did and intentionally absconded with top secret defense info would have just been arrested. Instead... 1/x
2/x the DOJ negotiated with Trump, secretly, for months, trying to get the top-secret government back, precisely because Trump is a very special boy. And instead of taking advantage of that, Trump tripled down on the leeway he was given by organizing a conspiracy to keep them.
3/x when it became clear that Trump was conspiring to keep them, the DOJ literally had no choice but to seize whatever they could, which they did. And that raid was the first anyone had any inkling of that that any of this was actually happening!
Read 5 tweets
Mar 21
On the Bernie-Warren "misogyny" issue, the stupid part is that there was an easy path forward that would have reduced conflict and smoothed things over. It could have gone like this, but it didn't. Bernie could have done this:
"In that conversation, I referenced the well-acknowledged fact that because of sexism, women have a steeper road to winning political office, but I never wanted to suggest, nor do I believe, that a woman cannot win the Presidency." Then Warren could have confirmed that. Done.
The campaigns talk, work together, smooth it out, everything is golden and everyone's on the same page. But no, Bernie had to scream outrage and call Warren a liar, giving her no choice to defend her integrity and acknowledge the conversation as stated.
Read 4 tweets
Mar 21
I wonder if Bernie skipped over the part where his campaign repeatedly called her a liar, his supporters with the biggest audiences called her a fraudulent Republican-lite warmonger, and he spent 2 days campaigning in MA to embarrass her.
For someone who now acknowledges that Texas was "the most hotly contested" of the remaining primary states, it sure seems weird that Bernie chose to campaign for 2 days in Massachusetts instead!
"she chose not to give it" I don't know, maybe some introspection should be in order about why that went down the way it did as opposed to Bernie always portraying himself as being the victim of other people's malfeasance
Read 4 tweets
Feb 11
The main thing Frost and AOC get--and that a lot of older Dems don't--is that Republicans are not redeemable. They can't be shamed into better behavior or reasoned with, so they need to just be exposed on the same information spaces they rely on--namely, social media. 1/x
Beyond culture war stuff--banning abortions, banning drag shows, and banning books--Republicans really take one policy issue seriously above all else: trying to guarantee the reach of their propaganda through social media. That's their main concern. 2/x
It's why Madison Cawthorn, for instance, didn't have a legislative staff to speak of and focused on "communications." The idea is to ensure that Rufo and others go viral to generate opportunities the few policy shops that exist to write culture war crackdowns. 3/x
Read 7 tweets
Feb 10
I just said this as a reply to someone, but it's crucial to understand that if Russia had succeeded in its conquest of Ukraine and NATO had not stepped up, the next step would have been to challenge NATO directly, likely over Estonia and the Baltics.
Here's what that playbook would have looked like: foment separatist movements in Northeast Estonia, which is substantially Russophone, claim an anti-Russian crackdown that necessitates preservation of the Russkiy Mir, and recognize the independence of some territory.
Meanwhile, conduct information operations among right-wingers (and left-wingers!) in the United States and Europe to argue about "America first" on the right and "why are we risking nuclear war over Estonia!" on the left in order to hamstring a NATO response.
Read 5 tweets

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