Monthly Archives: March 2012

Political Phrases Used by Democrats

A year ago, we posted the list of Political Phrases Used by Republicans. These are words and phrases the Republicans use and repeat in order to tilt the political playing field in their favor. We expressed the desire to create a similar list of Democratic and progressive phrases, but feared there were too few even to make a list.

Now, a year later, we dare to begin creating the list of phrases that Democrats use, or should use, to help level the playing field against the Republicans. Thus far, however, the list is modest, which is precisely why we wrote A Messaging Manifesto For Democrats. Therefore, we ask for your suggestions in the comments (or via Twitter) as to additional phrases that the Democrats either (a) are using, or (b) should use, and we’ll add the appropriate ones to the list. Hopefully, this list will at some point begin to approach the Republican list in length and effectiveness.

Also, when you compare the Democratic and Republican lists, notice the differences. Democrats tend to focus on things like hope, family, and health, while Republicans focus a lot on life vs. death and good vs. evil. This precisely reflects the competing Democrats’ “nurturing parent” and Republican “strict father” models identified by linguistics professor and political language guru George Lakoff.

Here’s the list:

On Democratic Messaging, Great Minds Think Alike

We’ve been writing and speaking about the Democratic Party’s need for better messaging efforts for a good two years, and have been focusing on it for much longer than that. We wrote “A Messaging Manifesto For Democrats” in 2010. We’ve repeatedly cited UC Berkeley linguistics professor George Lakoff and his book “Don’t Think of an Elephant!” for its all-important discussion of issue framing. Sometimes it’s been a lonely effort.

Not any more.

A few days ago, a post by blogger Jill Klausen entitled “5 Words and Phrases Democrats Should Never Say Again” appeared on the influential Crooks and Liars political blog. The post talked about the need for sharp, effective Democratic messaging, and even mentioned George Lakoff. Now others are getting in on the act too.

We welcome this growing effort by Democrats (and progressives who may not call themselves Democrats) to recognize the need to compete with the Republican Party’s effective message machine. Democrats perhaps are at a disadvantage in this area, because we think for ourselves, have lots of good ideas, and don’t fall in line easily. Nevertheless, these efforts at improving political communication by and for Democrats are critical, and if we join our efforts together, they will become even more powerful. And we’re going to join together. Stay tuned.

Rush Limbaugh Learns that Free Speech is a Two-Way Street

Rush Limbaugh‘s radio attack on Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke for her advocacy of contraception insurance coverage has been met with an unprecedented response. As a result, at least 29 sponsors and 2 radio stations reportedly have abandoned Limbaugh thus far. However, some are saying that Rush should be left alone because he has “the right to free speech.” Those folks are confused.