Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Hit 'Em Where It Hurts by Rachel Bitecofer Book Review

About the Book:

Why do Democrats fail to win voters to their side, and what can they do to develop new winning political strategies—especially as the very fate of democracy hangs in the balance in 2024? Too often the carefully constructed, rational arguments of the Left meet a grisly fate at the polls, where voters are instead swayed by Republican candidates hawking anger, fear, and resentment. Only when Democrats are handed an overwhelming motivational issue—like the Supreme Court’s 2022 Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wadehave they found a way to counter this effect.

Political scientist and strategist Rachel Bitecofer came to prominence after predicting the size (to the seat) of the Democrats’ rare Blue Wave in the 2018 midterms. At the heart of her prediction lay a powerful concept—
negative partisanship, or the idea that voters, even most so-called independents, don’t vote for their candidate so much as they vote against their candidate’s opponent. Seen through this lens, Hit ’Em Where It Hurts is a deep dive into the Republicans’ own playbook, sharing how Democrats can turn the Right’s own tactics against them. The way for Democrats to wage—and win—electoral war, Bitecofer writes, is to present themselves as “brand ambassadors for freedom, health, wealth, safety, and common sense,” the very opposite of the extremist, freedom-fearing Right. This is a last-ditch effort to armor democracy while there is still time to save and strengthen it against hijacking by a small minority of ideologues.

As America careens into the election cycle that will determine its democratic future, 
Hit ’Em Where It Hurts is the book for any Democrat who has ever banged their head against a wall when obvious reasoning failed to sway voters over to their side. This guide is a lifeline to save American democracy in its darkest hour.

My Review:

Bitecofer is convinced Democrats need to have a strong showing in the 2024 election to save our democracy. She says the message must move from factual to personal. She suggests taking the Republican messaging, such as higher taxes for the middle class, and turn in back on them. Voters must get the message that Republicans have veered off their platforms of physical conservatism, small government, and strong national security.

Today's Republican Party openly supports fascism, aspires to authoritarianism, and embraces racism and violent insurrection.” (1302/4867) To support her statement, she covers a number of topics. Americans are politically ignorant, she says, and lacking knowledge when it comes to civics. The U.S. has a low voting rate and a practically continuous political/election environment. She covers the Republican strategy, including news and social media.

This book is very informative for those who are not familiar with the current state of the political system in the U.S. For those of us who have kept up on reading about it, the information here may not be new. She does give several steps to help the Democratic Party be tougher, smarter and more efficient in heading into future elections.

This is a good book for Americans to read to be aware of the current political environment, the plans of the political parties and how those political parties promote their own platforms.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author:

Rachel Bitecofer is a political scientist and election forecaster turned political strategist. Bitecofer’s interviews and analysis have been featured by The New York Times, The Washington Post, Salon, Politico, The New Republic, Real Time with Bill Maher, CNN, MSNBC, and many other prominent news sources. She worked with Democratic Party candidates and organizations to implement negative partisanship strategy in the 2022 midterms. Photo courtesy of the author.

Crown, 288 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review. 

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

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