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April 24, 2006

Democrat Strategy: Framing

A little deeper into this 'Tough, Strong' nonsense we've been hearing from the Democrats.

'Framing' is a concept that Democrats are hoping will help them develop an unambiguous message that they can easily get across to the People. A progressive message, gift-wrapped in a way that will actually appeal to real citizens and cause them to vote for Democrats.

When you hear a word, its frame (or collection of frames) is activated in your brain. Established frames create clarity and promote a vision.

In other words, "Words mean things."
Let me know if this is going too fast for you. This guy is a friggin' genius.
Quick, name 5 things that progressives stand for.

Uhhhhh...equality, freedom...liberty, justice....and...opportunity?

Okay, now the conservatives, what do you stand for?

1) Smaller Government
2) Lower Taxes
3) Family Values
4) Strong Defense
5) Free Markets

Very good. Now who do you suppose has an easier time getting their message across to the American people in a way that is effective, compelling, meaningful and memorable...i.e. in a way with which the average person can identify? Who do you suppose is more effective at instilling in the electorate, their set of ideological frames -- the bedrock foundation within which all new information will be processed, evaluated, and stored for future use.

When I read that, I thought, "A-ha! They're finally, kind-of, sorta getting it! Maybe there's hope for this two-party system after all."
But then:

Coming out of Denial

I used to be fond of the belief that the 'facts are on our side' and therefore, we have the true advantage since the 'truth shall set us free'. As we progress, you will discover that the truth will only set those free who are willing to accept it. In short, objective truth often takes a distant back seat to a person's established frame.

In fact, Progressives have traditionally fought for the vote based on 4 primary (and mistaken) beliefs:

1) The truth will set you free: We believe that 'if only the people knew the truth' about Bush…or about Republicans... or about the tax structure, etc., then they would change their minds and join us on our progressive quest.

2) People will vote in their self-interest: We believe that if someone lost their job as a result of Bush's policies, or lost benefits from a social program because it was cancelled due to Bush's tax cut to the top 1% of income earners, then they would join us.

3) Political campaigns are like marketing campaigns: We believe (at least our political representation in Washington does) that a campaign should be run like a product is sold. The candidate is the product and the candidate's platform is the product's attributes. Target the attributes to the needs of the 'client' (the electorate) and you will have a successful 'product'.

4) Media access is what we need to retake the nation: Although certainly part of that quest, it is neither its driver nor its primary focus. Indeed, if we promote a compelling message based on our values, then it will be easier to take back the media [emphasis mine].

All of these assumptions are wrong. We've been sprinting down this path -- the wrong path -- ignoring the fact that people vote for those with whom they identify often regardless of the 'objective truth', against their 'self interest', regardless of whether the product has the attributes they need, and without regard to the media access of the candidates or their message.

Frames rule over facts!


You said it, brother.

#3 is particularly amusing; no, political campaigns shouldn't be run like marketing campaigns. Apparently this guy thinks they should be run like management fads instead. He's trying to establish a new dynamic paradigm.

I could take excerpts from this thing all night. It has got to be one of the saddest essays I have ever read.
OK: just one more.

Once we recognize and define our values, we will be able to summarize them in a further list of objectives that encapsulates those values and presents a solid foundation with which to appeal to the progressive part of each person's psyche.

"What's my platform? Anybody have a fucking clue what I stand for? Oh shit. You got to be kidding me...(shuffling papers)..lessee...more centralized government, reproductive rights, higher taxes...I'M SURE WE CAN FIND A WAY TO REPHRASE THESE THINGS SO THAT PEOPLE WILL VOTE FOR IT."

Please do go on to skim part II, and giggle when he dismisses out of hand the very notion of moving the platform to the right.
I'm through with this bozo's paper. If any of you find more hilarity in the remaining pages- and you will- please be a sweetling and post them in the comments for us all to mock at leisure.


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posted by LauraW. at 06:37 PM

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