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Brown versus Warren: A pre-Labor Day view

Posted Aug 20 2012 8:39am
It is always dangerous to prognosticate election results before Labor Day, but I am going to offer an opinion based on observation of one set of clues only:  The design of lawn signs.

Look at these two.  First, the incumbent's, Scott Brown

Next, the challenger's, Elizabeth Warren

Those of you not from Massachusetts may have been led to believe that this is a liberal state.  Not so.  While it is often portrayed as a highly Democratic state, look at this party enrollment
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Massachusetts
The Republicans always come out and vote, the Democrats more sporadically.  So, the race is about getting the Democrats to vote and grabbing those unaffiliated voters.  Who are these people?  Well, in great measure, they are like most of the rest of the country, concerned about the same things.

But the dirty secret is that--like the rest of the county--they are less concerned about the issues than they are about the characteristics of the person running.  They want to trust and like their Senator.  And it is here that the Warren campaign has been faltering.  She/they seem to think that her substantive record and experience on issues will bring out the vote.  Her answers on policy issues are thoughtful and in full paragraphs, but they come across as dispassionate and intellectual.  They have failed, so far, to convey in a visceral way who she is and why we should like her.  Her lawn sign offers nothing to offset this.

What the Brown campaign understands is that this election is about personality.  "He's for us" on his lawn sign has double power.  "He cares about us" is part of it, but subliminally, "He's one of us" is the underlying message.  Scott always refers to Elizabeth as "Professor Warren."  He is appearing to be respectful, but he is really reminding the electorate that she is an untrustworthy Cambridge Harvard intellectual, while he is a normal person.

The lawn signs tell us all this.  Gee, I can even text Scott a message.  I bet he is likely to answer.

(Please note that this blog post is not about my personal vote or my preference in the race.  It is simply an analysis of what I see and hear.)
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