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The Dem choir needs to sing LOUD and proud, with clear and simple messaging
Democrats need to be strong and compelling messengers to their own network.
MAIN IDEA: People’s friends and neighbors are the best messengers for a campaign, a party, or a candidate.
MAKE IT REAL: If we want to win the 2022 midterms and keep democracy going for a little longer, we all need to be the messengers of democratic values to our entire personal network. We need to stop complaining about terrible Dem messaging and start carrying good messaging ourselves, regardless of whether it originates with the party. People cannot be persuaded by messaging they cannot hear. So each of us needs to be loud enough to get the word out.
CORE CONCEPTS: Anat Shenker-Osorio, master communicator, always focuses on four things about successful messaging:
1. Lead with shared values. We need to begin every conversation with the values we all share, using FREEDOM as the organizing principle. So…”no matter who we are, where we live, what color our skin, language we speak, we all deserve the freedom to vote and have our votes counted.” This gives people the opportunity to live up to their higher selves and what they believe is most important to them.
2. Call out the villains. This can get tricky, because we have to call out the people who are trying to prevent us from having freedom, or clean water, or honest education, without using their language. We need to make clear who they are (the faction that wants to deny freedom to everyone except the super rich, White Americans, Christians) and reveal their motives.
3. Sell the brownie, not the recipe. We always need to bring our messaging back to the impact a policy/candidate/event has on our daily lives. For example, the Infrastructure law will reduce commuting time, give our children clean water to drink and air to breathe, give us all more options for public transit, extending broadband access to the entire state, etc. We don’t want to be talking about dollar figures or policy elements. We want to make people FEEL how their lives will be better…and connect Dems to that feeling.
4. Tune your message so your friends will pass it on. Time after time, research and elections show that the most effective messengers are people’s friends, relatives, and acquaintances. So we each need to be messengers, talk to people in our network, and share ideas that will resonate enough for our friends to pass them along. The fancy name for this is relational organizing.
BOTTOM LINE: We need to be the carriers of clear and grounded messaging, and we don’t need to wait for “The Dems” to provide it. This is why More Perfect Democracy exists. We will give you the content and the message to share on social media and in your offline lives, because we each are the most important messengers we have.
Watch, Listen, Read, and Follow
Watch: Mayor Pete documentary, streaming on Amazon Prime.
Listen: Anat Shenker-Osorio’s podcast Words to Win By. In the first episode of the second season, Anat (I’ll pretend that I know her) talks about how Dems eeked out a win in Wisconsin in 2020.
Read: We were the most prepared nation in the world and more than 750k people have died (source: CNN). Let’s not forget how the Fascist MAGA faction actually governed (and needlessly killed hundreds of thousands of Americans).
Follow: Judd Legum, writer of newsletter Popular Information about politics and power.
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