Why we wrote our new messaging book

Posted on June 21, 2017

Available at this website and on Amazon in two weeks: Voicing Our Values: A messaging guide for policymakers and advocates, Third Edition.

Most Americans are progressive on most issues. By margins of at least two to one, our fellow citizens agree that the U.S. economy is rigged to benefit the rich and powerful; think wealthy individuals and corporations pay too little in federal taxes; favor a major increase in the minimum wage; want to require businesses to provide paid sick leave to their employees; believe prescription drug costs are unreasonable; favor restricting carbon emissions from coal power plants; want health insurance to be affordable for all Americans; say we should require background checks for all gun buyers; oppose the deportation of unauthorized immigrants; support federal funding for Planned Parenthood; say that LGBT people should be protected against discrimination in jobs, public accommodations and housing; and do not want the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Progressives will cheer and conservatives will grumble about those facts. But persuadable Americans, the people who swing advocacy and political campaigns one way or another, don’t particularly care. They are not focused on a list of issues. When they engage in politics, they’re mostly asking themselves a much broader question—who is on my side?

The purpose of our new messaging book—the Third Edition of Voicing Our Values— is to suggest how to communicate to those undecideds, over and over again, that you and your cause(s) are on their side.

As you will see, facts and logical arguments, by themselves, are not persuasive. You need to be aware of your listeners’ preconceptions and biases, start from a point of agreement, declare your progressive values, show listeners how they benefit, and speak in a way that nonpolitical citizens can grasp.

Throughout this book, we suggest specific language that illustrates how you can apply our advice. As long as you understand the reasoning behind our recommendations, we encourage you to adapt our examples to your own voice. Make the language authentically yours, fully integrating it with the knowledge and experience that you bring to any issue.

Message framing is not a silver bullet. It’s just one tool to help win political battles, albeit one that progressives could use a lot more effectively. Still, if we combine better messaging with a lot of other hard work, we can mobilize that majority of Americans who agree with us, win our campaigns, and change the world.

 

SHARE

Now is the time for bold progressive policies

Posted on June 6, 2017

This might seem like a strange time for us to make the case for progressives to go on offense in the fight over public policy. Voters are more polarized than ever, politics is as...

SHARE

Create a state or local Progressive Economic Platform

Posted on May 24, 2017

There is a true and politically compelling story about the American economy. The rich have spent decades rigging the system to benefit themselves at the expense of everyone else. Without any real knowledge at...

SHARE

How and why to prepare an amendment strategy

Posted on May 10, 2017

Many lawmakers and advocates work in states, cities and counties where there is no chance to enact progressive policy. The votes for equity and justice simply aren’t there. In that case, your efforts have...

SHARE

How to earn more media coverage

Posted on April 26, 2017

It is rare that major progressive legislation succeeds without a great deal of publicity. Plenty of special interest legislation passes in the dark, but our side needs the light. How do you get the...

SHARE

Build your policy coalition

Posted on April 12, 2017

[This is the sixth in a series of columns about best practices for state and local advocacy groups. The first five are about proactive legislation, a Resolution strategy, a 6-step multi-year advocacy program, how...

SHARE

How to build and use your volunteer base

Posted on March 28, 2017

[This is the fifth in a series of columns about best practices for state and local advocacy groups. The first four are about proactive legislation, a Resolution strategy, a 6-step multi-year advocacy program, and...

SHARE

How to meet with a lawmaker

Posted on March 15, 2017

[This is the fourth in a series of columns about best practices for state and local advocacy groups. The first three are about proactive legislation, a Resolution strategy, and a 6-step multi-year advocacy program.]...

SHARE

A Long-Term Advocacy Strategy That Works

Posted on February 28, 2017

[This column is related to the last one that laid out a “Resolution Strategy” for policy organizing. This digs deeper into the six-part program for advocacy described by Michael Pertschuk in The DeMarco Factor:...

SHARE

A Resolution Strategy for Policy Advocates

Posted on February 15, 2017

Passing legislation is mostly about politics rather than policy. Progressives can have the greatest idea, backed up by a mountain of reports and an army of experts, and get nowhere near enacting it. At...

SHARE