The most important sentence you will read about the 2024 election

The most important sentence you will read about the 2024 election

Messaging expert Anat Shenker-Osorio explains that victory in November depends on convincing low-information voters that the MAGA threat is real.

Donald Trump’s greatest advantage is that he is treated like a clown.

This is true even after he has been found culpable of not just falsifying business records to deceive voters but also of almost half a billion dollars of fraud in his personal business and literal sexual assault.

This is true even after his disastrous presidency, after he welcomed help from the worst villain alive to win his first election, after he ripped thousands of his children from their families, after he tortured us through one of the worst responses to COVID on the globe, after he tried to violently overthrow an election he lost, and even after he stole America’s nuclear secrets and splayed them around the club where he charges strangers a $200,000 membership fee.

This is true even today. The press is largely ignoring the way he has already politicized the Justice Department to go after his enemies, even as the president’s son stands trial over charges that would almost always have been pleaded out. Trump's vows to prosecute more of his enemies are treated not as an end to democracy but as a silly debate about “revenge.” And the media, in general, refuse to sound the alarm as the party unites around him to back Vladimir Putin’s attempt to destroy Nato and rape his way into the heart of Europe, even as Trump repeats his 2016 disgrace of begging for Putin’s help to be elected.

The media is largely standing down or behind the GOP as Trump delights in rejecting the rule of law, literally arguing in the Supreme Court that he could drone strike anyone he likes as president if he feels like it. And the press just ignores it. 

Did you even know that happened?

This isn’t just a crisis revealing how the breakdown of journalism and the fragmentation and polarization of society threaten what we call democracy; it’s Donald Trump’s greatest advantage.

This week on “How are you feeling about democracy?” (which you can listen to above) we spoke to messaging expert and host of the brilliant Words to Win By podcast Anat Shenker-Osorio about the challenges we face in defeating Donald Trump in the 2024 election.

It’s essential listening for anyone who wants to understand the voters who will decide this election and, possibly, the future of democracy itself. Based on the extensive research she’s done into the electorate, including bi-monthly focus groups with actual voters, she lays out the two groups Democrats must win over and the challenges in doing so. 

And in doing that, she offers the most important sentence you’ll hear about this year’s election:  

“So it's really a question of how many of the voters are clued into what's going on.” 

And if you don’t see the importance yet, you will when you read the fuller context below.

For multiple reasons – Donald Trump being treated like a clown foremost among them in my mind, voters who hate Trump and his policies don’t think he’s going to implement them. 

This is especially true of new and infrequent voters, who are leaning right for the first time in recent American history.

This could be seen as the prelude to a massive tragedy or a huge opportunity. At earlyworm, where we exist to help the best-informed voters spread to best information to as many people as possible, we see it as a validation of our entire existence.

We have a mission: We need to let everyone know about the evils of the MAGA agenda and why Trump will actually be able to implement it given a second chance. We must do this knowing that we are our friends and families’ most trusted news source.

Because we drown in this stuff, we know that Trump is only treated like a clown because that clownishness is a  Trojan horse for his worst intentions and the hideous billionaire agenda he has vowed to implement. We know he will be far more effective at destroying the fabric of America this time because Project 2025 is putting the policies and people in place to make sure it can happen here. 

Put simply in their words, “But the Dobbs decision is only the beginning.”

And as much as we know that, we must understand that many others, including the voters who will decide the election, don’t. And if they do, they don’t believe it. And if that’s true in November, we will have failed ourselves, our families, and our country. 

And we can’t let that happen.

Jason Sattler:  Are you seeing this strange thing that is showing up in the polls that's never happened before and in recent times that people who never vote and are voting for the first time are leaning toward the Republican candidate, leaning towards Donald Trump?

Anat Shanker-Osorio: Yeah.

So the important thing to understand about that, and that's the basis for this new pundit idea called "turnout terror," or my colleague Michael Podhorzer calls it "turnout terror," that actually somehow higher turnout is disadvantageous to Joe Biden when, we know that historically the reverse has been true.

So the important thing to understand about that is that there is… And so what you're seeing is, if not a one-to-one, a close to it correlation between how much voters know about the agenda and how much voters believe that the MAGA agenda is likely to be implemented, and whether or not they have moved away from Biden.

So what you're seeing is that these non-habitual voters or these brand-new voters, they are understandably, by definition, very low information. If you haven't been participating all along, or in many cases, you're a young person who is newly entering into the electorate, then you're going to tend to be Statistically speaking, obviously individual cases very much vary. Talking about millions of people. So there are differences among individuals. You're going to be a person who is less likely to be paying attention. And so the phenomenon that we're seeing is not that these non habitual voters or these sort of brand new to the electorate voters are feeling warm and fuzzy toward Donald Trump.

It's that they are not aware of what is at stake and they are understandably displeased with the present. So rather than make it basically I think the way that the dynamic can be most readily understood is if folks are viewing the election as a referendum on Joe Biden's performance. That's a tough spot.

If folks are viewing the election as the question of whether MAGA will come and take away our freedoms or not, then they very clearly know what to do and they will do it. So it's really a question of how many of the voters are clued into what's going on.