Selling the other guys brand
As cognitive psychologist George Lakoff told me: "Democrats moving to the middle is a double disaster that alienates the party's progressive base while simultaneously sending a message to swing voters that the other side is where the good ideas are." It unconsciously locks in the notion that the other side's positions are worth moving toward, while your side's positions are the ones to move away from.
I'd like to add something to this: Some political strategists interpret recent Republican success as an indication that their program sells better with the swing voters. They argue that it is therefore logical that Democrats base their appeal on the same program in order to win the swing voters back from the Republicans.
This is a fundamental misunderstanding a swing vote psychology. They don't vote for a particular candidate or party because of ideology. By definition a swing voter is someone who does not have an ideology. What is really happening is that the swing voters are buying into whichever program is most successfully marketed to them. It is marketed by the Republicans, of course. But the Democrats are selling it as well by openly making the same appeal.
Democrats are going into the red states trying to win back votes while wearing the "Vote Republican!" slogan on their shirts!
What does this mean? It means that Republicans don't have to try as hard to sell their program to the swing voters because the Democrats are doing it for them!
And don't think the Republicans aren't getting a big laugh out of that!