Hennessy's View

Domine, non sum dignus

Why does Ted Cruz’s Speech Bother Me So Much?

I’m trying to put my finger on exactly why I found Ted Cruz’s remarks Wednesday night so incredibly distasteful. The Pledge thing is a goodly part of it. Simply put, the parties to the Pledge Ted Cruz signed were only Ted Cruz and the RNC (by extension, you can probably include the delegates and voters, too). The Pledge promised support, including data, from the RNC in exchange for Ted Cruz’s endorsement of the eventual nominee. Read more →

One Strong Leader Can Keep Congress In Line

Why do our members of Congress disappoint us? Why do they seem to put their personal interests ahead of the mission we elected them to do? More importantly, how we can we deter Republicans or bring them back to the fold? Study Shows How Communities Keep Members In Line New research by University of Oxford and the ETH Zurich could provide an answer: one strong leader. When non-cheating members of a community empowered a strong member to challenge the anti-social cheater, the cheating stopped. Read more →

Use This One Word Because It Makes You More Influential

Don’t ask me to explain why the human brain works the way it does. And don’t ask me how scientists get the idea for some experiments. Instead, take note of the most influential work in the English language, because I want you to be more influential. What’s that one word? It’s not “you” or “free” or “instantly” or “new.” They’re very powerful words, as every copywriter knows. But they’re not the most influential. Read more →

If You Want Fewer Abortions, Stop Talking About How Many There Are

I’m using abortion as an example, but this bit of science applies to all political messaging. What’s wrong with this headline? I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it. It shouts: “Everybody’s getting an abortion!” Even if connected with messages that say abortion is wrong. In numerous studies, messages intended to discourage a behavior by promoting the number of people engaged in the behavior (called negative social proof) actually caused the behavior to increase. Read more →

Why GOP Pandering to Young Voters Backfires

Marco Rubio gave the Republican response to the State of the Union address for two reasons. First, Rubio’s Cuban, and the GOP wants to court Latinos. Second, Rubio’s relatively young, and the GOP wants to stop the bleeding when it comes to young voters. But there’s a fundamental problem with the Republican approach, and it stems from the GOP’s least favorite discipline: behavioral science. Young People Are Naturally Skeptical You hear about scams that target older folks all the time. Read more →