Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Happiness Gap

"Some elections are defined by the gap between the rich and the poor. Others are defined by the gap between the left and the right. But this election will be shaped by the gap within individual voters themselves — the gap between their private optimism and their public gloom."

Read this fascinating op-ed in the NYT by David Brooks.

"If one were to advise a candidate about the happiness gap, you’d say: first, don’t try to be inspiring or rely on the pure power of authenticity. In these cynical days, voters are not interested in uplift.

Second, don’t propose any program that will interfere with the way voters are currently organizing their lives. They don’t want you there.


Third, don’t expect people to cast votes according to their income. Democrats do as well among top earners as Republicans. People are more interested in repairing the nation’s health than in boosting their personal bottom line.

Fourth, offer voters a few big proposals (and strategies to implement them) that respond to global threats. Repeat those proposals at every event and forget about everything else.
In 1933, Franklin Roosevelt could launch the New Deal because voters wanted to change the country and their own lives. But today, people want the government to change so their own lives can stay the same. Voters don’t want to be transformed; they want to be defended."

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