Are We Ready?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]When The Republican President crashes, will we be ready to pick up the pieces?

Week one of our new Republican President’s term in office began with the largest mass protest in American and world history. The crazy is only just beginning and as it mounts there is the very real probability that Trump will, at any moment, say or do something so ill-conceived and dangerous that citizens will turn away from him and demand his head on a platter.

This should absolutely terrify progressives.

First, Republican leaders at that moment will feel they have no choice but to distance themselves from Trump and his actions. Because they have done such effective messaging based in their core worldview, they will likely just pull all their voters with them. (For this reason we must start today to be sure there is no daylight between The Republican President and Republicans.)

Second, and more pressing, is that progressives are wholly unprepared to communicate to voters our better alternative in any effective way.

Liberals fail at communication over and over. Think about what we all do when confronted with the latest Republican absurdity or The Republican President’s latest tweet. We haul out facts by the busload, point to them and say “See!?” and expect voters to instantly reason to the same conclusion we have.  But facts and reason do not work. It’s not that humans can’t reason, it’s not that you and I shouldn’t know -or ever speak- the facts; it’s that humans -all humans- simply do not make most of their decisions using reason. Study after study in Cognitive Psychology, Social Psychology, Linguistics and Economics over almost an entire century come to this very same conclusion.

If people are not going to listen to reason, then why are we reasoning with them?

Too busy flinging facts, we have not done any sort of job telling people what we really believe and why. (Worse, the Republicans, being no dummies, have happily stepped in to do the job for us; many, if not most citizens now define us by the straw man created by conservatives.) We need to develop the skill of forming well framed messages that evoke the core values in our worldview.

 It’s not terribly difficult and it takes just a little studying up a little (check out the links on our Workshop Resources page or pick up The Little Blue Book by George Lakoff. Our workshops address framing in detail). In a nutshell, the progressive worldview is “We all do better when we all do better”. Our worldview is rooted in caring and empowerment. Our messages need to evoke these core values -those brain cells need to light up in peoples brains. Over and over.

To help you get going, think Stop, Drop and Roll:

Stop and think about what is being said. What frames and codewords are Republicans using? Look deep: what is the real issue? (Hint: it’s usually not what they’re saying). What core value is behind what we believe about the real issue?

Drop Republican frames and words. Using their words and frames lets them set the agenda and keeps us off ours -and don’t think they don’t know that! We must know their frames well enough to stay out of them. We need to also drop the fact flinging and debunking. It may be true and satisfying, but it doesn’t work.

Roll with effective messages. Use the most appropriate moral value frame to craft a message for the real issue. That frame should not only address the issue but reinforce our core values and our larger worldview.

It will take some study and practice, but it gets easier if we if we build it into our culture -as Republicans have done- and we need to do it as least well as they have.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Call Him “The Republican President”


Beginning today and at every opportunity we must refer to Trump as “The Republican President“.

He most surely is: Republican extremist rhetoric, pervasive propaganda and their successful efforts at gerrymandering, dirty tricks and voter suppression created the opening Trump walked through. Republican leaders supported him during the campaign and continue to defend him. Trump in not an anomaly, he is a result and they may attempt to cut bait and take Pence at any moment. 

There is the very real probability that Trump will, at any moment, say or do something so ill-conceived and dangerous that citizens will demand his head on a platter. 

At that moment, Republican leaders will feel they have no choice but to distance themselves from their President and his actions. Their message will be that “We’re not like him”. This gives them the opportunity to jettison him while preserving their extremist worldview in the minds of voters. We cannot allow any daylight between Republicans and their President. By continuously associating Trump and the Republicans, we set the stage for Republicans to rightfully go down with the Frankenstein monster they, themselves created.

We then have an opening to provide an alternative. To do that we’ll need to be prepared to communicate our alternative worldview effectively -and that’s what the Pocket Progressive attempts to change!


Don’t say “Alt Right”

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Get “Alt right” out of your vocabulary. It is a way of referring to white supremacist groups that obscures the reality of what they are. Think about the framing: “alt” means alternative, as if it’s just another way of being on the right. It also suggests it’s trendy or cool -like “alt country”. However, it’s not a benign alternative and it’s definitely not cool.

Organized racism is extremely dangerous. It has grown tremendously in recent decades as Republicans have tolerated and even courted racist votes. Racists now feel emboldened to come out of the shadows as candidate Trump made racism a central theme of his campaign and as President Elect Trump named a prominent white supremacist as his closest presidential adviser.

We should never use this term and neither should the media. For at least half a century they’ve properly used the term “white supremacists” and have only recently switched. Some media outlets are now reconsidering the term alt right and are drawing guidelines for it’s use -it’s our duty to encourage them to drop it entirely; nothing less than it’s abandonment is appropriate.

As a general rule, call things what they are. Softening or using euphemisms as rhetorical courtesy often obscures reality. Don’t make it harder for your listeners to know exactly what you mean.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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