The resident faculty were playing with magnetic Bucky Balls this morning. Maybe they were attracted to last week’s discussion of science, or maybe they have repulsive plans for the University of Wisconsin mascot. But the staff think the attraction and repulsion were about their plans for the week. (More)

First our customary thanks to last week’s guest lecturer. On Tuesday, Professor of Neuroholdemology Caractacus discussed community bonds in On Stop Signs and Eggs. It was a good discussion and worth reading if you missed it.

This Tuesday, Professor Caractacus continues his Things We Learned This Week Series. On Wednesday, the BPI faculty and staff will reveal the bottom of our Bippies with the 2010 BPI Awards for political columns that were not written. As always, Chef will provide coffee and bagels, and the Professor of Astrology Janitor will divide cleaners from buffers.

Note: We have Wednesday guest lecture openings for the next several weeks. If you would like to guest host Morning Feature or otherwise contribute at the BPI Campus, please volunteer in today’s Campus Chatter.

Also: Please share your stories of offline political activism in Things We Did This Week.

Reminder: Starting October 4th, Morning Feature will crosspost at DailyKos on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. Morning Feature will still post daily at the BPI Campus. If you haven’t yet visited the BPI Admissions Office, please do; we want to hear from you!

The resident faculty were playing with magnetic Bucky Balls as they emerged from the wine cellar library, where they spent the weekend drinking thinking on our motto of Magis vinum, magis verum (“More wine, more truth”). As the staff could imagine no use for it in the hot tub faculty lounge where they hold their weekly game where the underwear goes flying planning conference, we agreed it was probably a clue to their plans for the week.

Specifically, an August Gallup poll found that registered Democrats were twice as likely to vote positive (for Democrats) as negative (against the TGOP) this year. Conversely, almost as many Tea Party Republicans said they’ll vote negative (against Democrats) as positive (for their own candidates). The difference in positive and negative voting may explain a lot about the narratives of the 2010 midterms.

For example, pollsters think it explains the so-called “enthusiasm gap,” which is more a Complacency Gap. Historically, angry voters are more likely to vote in midterms. Thus most “likely voter” models project higher turnout among TGOP voters than among Democrats. That’s why policy surveys like last week’s NYT/CBS poll show voters favor the Democratic Party, yet candidate polls show Tea Party Republicans leading.

The pollsters’ models directly contradict what Charles Blow wrote in the New York Times on Friday:

The Democrats’ strategy of highlighting the scary Tea Party-supported candidates isn’t working for them. Fear factors don’t provide much traction. They turn off instead of turn out.

These voters came to the polls in 2008 because they were inspired and hopeful, not angry and scared. They need to be inspired anew. Democrats must ignite their fealty, and they must do so with a positive, idea-based message.

The story of 2010 is not that more voters support TGOP policies than Democratic policies, that voters will go against their policy interests to “sweep out incumbents,” or that Democrats haven’t done enough to tout their own policies. The story of 2010, so far, is simply that pollsters expect more voters who oppose Democrats to vote.

The narratives of the 2010 midterms are all based on negative voting – voting against the opposition, rather than for one’s own candidates – and that also explains why the TGOP are so radical this year. If the negative voting analysis is true, they have nothing to lose by whipping up anger against President Obama and Democrats, and nothing to gain by proposing positive solutions that have enough popular support to be enacted. They’re running on crazy because they know that can win a midterm election … especially if Democrats are reluctant to call out crazy for what it is.

This week Morning Feature will call out the crazy. In 2010, “crazy like a fox” isn’t just a figure of speech. It’s a strategy Tea Party Republicans believe can win.


Happy Monday!