Years ago I wrote that all elections in America center on four basic narratives:
(1) The triumphant individual who overcomes huge obstacles to eventually succeed (the Right says anyone with enough guts and gumption can make it; the Left focuses on equal opportunity.)
(2) The benevolent community that joins together to achieve the common good (the Right celebrates private charities such as “a thousand points of light;” the Left emphasizes public services).
(3) The rot at the top, comprised of the privileged and powerful who conspire against the rest of us (the Right focuses on government; the Left, on big corporations and Wall Street).
(4) The mob at the gates that threaten us from beyond our borders (the Right worries about foreign powers; the Left worries more about global trade).
The first and second stories are about hope; the third and fourth about fear.
In the 2014 midterm elections, the two fearsome narratives predominate. Republican’s “rot at the top” is Obama and Obamacare; Democrat’s “rot at the top” should be big corporations suppressing wages and the Right suppressing votes, but they’re not telling that story.
Republicans’ “mob at the gates” are immigrants, terrorists, and Ebola. The Democrat’s “mob at the gates” should be growing totalitarianism and intolerance around the world, but they’re not telling that story, either.
Why aren’t the Democrats telling their versions?