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CNN Finds a New Excuse for Why Democrats Could Lose in 2024

Townhall Media

Some new heavy-hitting "analysis" from CNN seems to be looking to lay new groundwork for potential Democrat losses in 2024, even though the election is more than 400 days away. This time, it's conservatives' "verbal jiu-jitsu" that CNN has identified as the "one political battleground where Republicans triumph virtually every time" and "could determine who wins the White House in 2024." Here's why CNN is fretting about conservative rhetoric and why they should probably be looking in the mirror to understand a string of liberal losses rather than pointing the finger across the aisle.

According to CNN's Sunday analysis from Senior Writer John Blake:

Republicans are masters of verbal jiu-jitsu. It’s a form of linguistic combat in which the practitioner takes a political phrase or concept popularized by their opponent and gradually turns into an unusable slur. Like the Japanese martial art known as jiu-jitsu, its devotees avoid taking opposing arguments head on and instead redirect their opponents’ momentum to beat them.

If this sounds abstract, consider the evolution of “ woke.” The word is defined as being “actively aware of social injustice.” But it has been transformed into a contemporary scourge, one that a politician compared to a “virus more dangerous than any pandemic, hands down.”

Mention almost any touchstone phrase adopted by the left in recent years — “critical race theory,” “diversity,” “global warming,” even the word “liberal” itself — and it has been redefined or tarnished by conservatives.

Despite CNN's slanted version of things — one in which the outlet claims Republicans "avoid taking opposing arguments head on" — conservatives and Republicans do offer direct rebuttals to the left's agenda: secure the border, give parents a voice in their kids' education, stop spending so much money, defend our allies, project strength against our foes' aggression, etc. 

In addition to their direct proposals that provide an alternative to leftist lunacy, conservatives have learned from past debates in which liberals set the terms of discourse and have since gone on to beat Democrats at their own game. Gone are the days, seemingly, in which Democrats could get away with dubbing racist treatment of Americans as "affirmative action," and that's a good thing. Conservatives lost too many policy battles for years because we didn't do a good enough job branding the left's position or our own stances. 

There are plenty of examples of areas in which these battles are still playing out. "Gender-affirming care for minors" is one way the left is still trying — though seemingly losing — to define irreversible genital mutilation of children. 

Back to CNN's fretting about the subject, here's the "answer" the network came up with:

Part of the answer comes down to effort and discipline — Republicans devote more time to turning words into weapons and do a better job of sticking to their message, says Lindsey Cormack, a political scientist who focuses on race, gender, communications and politics at Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey.

“I’ve been studying their communications for 15 years and it sort of blows me away because I think Democrats are good at doing plenty of things, but they really dropped the ball on the communications piece a lot,” Cormack says.

Cormack says conservatives have built a think-tank ecosystem of linguists and focus groups to test words and phrases for political battle. Democrats do some of the same, but with not the same level of commitment, she says.

“They (conservatives) think about what words resonate, what words cue other sorts of thoughts or what sort of images come to mind with people when they’re hearing messages,” Cormack says. “They seem to have more invested in that, and they have more people who write about that sort of work and linguists who do these sorts of things for them.”

That is, conservatives realized messaging is on an equal level of importance with the policies themselves — and then beat the left at its own game after liberals became complacent. That detrimental abdication of the messaging wars likely came as a result of the left's takeover of higher education and the critical cultural institutions that stream viewpoints into Americans lives at an increasingly frequent (now basically incessant) level. Has CNN, for example, asked itself why Americans increasingly changed the channel to consumer different (or even the same) information from difference sources? 

CNN's analysis is also a warning for conservatives to avoid a similar fate should we become comfortable with a dominant position in messaging our values and policies which bolster them. By showing the truth behind "Critical Race Theory," "Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion," or ESG, conservatives have successfully made even proponents of such things reticent to mention them. But winning the messaging battle is not — and should not be construed as — winning the war against such curriculum or values. 

The left had successfully made "affirmative action" a difficult concept to succinctly disagree with, yet the Supreme Court just (rightfully) destroyed its role in allowing a person's skin color to determine their admission to colleges and universities. Messaging is important, but it isn't everything.

If CNN is writing fearful analysis that conservative messengers could play a decisive role in deciding the outcome of the 2024 presidential election, that's a good sign for conservatives to redouble their efforts to keep winning through next November on both messaging and policy fronts. Perhaps even more critically, messaging will be key in the subsequent four years to ensure a winning GOP candidates' policies don't get bogged down in smears that outpace conservatives' "verbal jiu-jitsu."

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