We Can Speak To Different Audiences And At Different Volumes: The Pot Legalization Edition

Last week, this article arguing Democrats should embrace marijuana legalization made the rounds (boldface mine):

To put it simply, liberals’ slow evolution on the issue is hurting the party; It’s clear Democrats could easily turn marijuana into a winning issue. According to Gallup polling, 64 percent of Americans now support legal marijuana, and the issue polls well across parties: 72 percent of Democrats, 67 percent of Independents and 51 percent of Republicans now support legal marijuana

Lawyer Jasper Ward, part of the non-profit organization Legalize Kentucky Now, has been using polling in states like Kentucky and Alabama to convince Democrats to run on legalization. He has found that medical marijuana has strong support in these deep red states, and can both mobilize young Democratic voters and convince communities struggling with opioids to vote Democratic.

In one Kentucky congressional district, polling he commissioned from Public Policy Polling found that 56 percent of voters think that marijuana will reduce addiction to pain pills, compared to only 26 who think marijuana is a gateway drug (the rest were undecided). In that district, 68 percent of registered voters think doctors should be allowed to prescribe medical marijuana, with 24 opposed (the rest were undecided). This polling also tracks with attitudes slowing percolating in conservative circles as well…

Some Democrats pushed back, arguing this was a side issue, and could even be harmful. While each Democrat will have to gauge how it could play out in their electoral district/state, one thing to remember is that you don’t have to lead with this issue to all groups. Some issues can be targeted towards particular demographics using particular media. If called on it (and polling doesn’t seem to indicate it would be a bad position), just calmly explain your position. Not every issue has to be trumpeted to be heard, especially when there are those who are looking to hear about that issue.

Democrats can speak to different audiences at variable volumes.

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