The Democrats’ three-word slogan for 2014

Messaging Matters2

The run-up to the 2014 Congressional elections is in full swing. You can be sure that Republicans are sharpening their talking points for the upcoming campaigns. We’ll likely be hearing all about a supposed lackluster economy, tepid employment picture, and that demonic “Obamacare.” Now is the time, therefore, for Democrats and progressives to hone their arguments and talking points to counter those of the Republicans and, better yet, to drive the conversation from the get-go. Here are the three words to use against the Republicans:

They Did Nothing.” It’s that simple. The Republicans on the economy? “They did nothing.” On jobs? “They did nothing.” Rebuilding America’s crumbling roads and bridges to help businesses move their products? “They did nothing.” Immigration? “They did nothing.” Climate change? “They did nothing.” Bringing American jobs back home instead of shipping them overseas? “They did nothing.” Keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, terrorists and the mentally ill? “They did nothing.”* The list goes on and on. And to be clear, the Democrats must articulate their positive agenda. In fact, President Obama has taken to the road to do just that. Saying the Republicans did nothing only makes sense if Democrats clearly explain what solutions they stand for and on which the Republicans should work, with some compromise and cooperation by both sides.

Surely, you say, Republicans and conservatives will argue that their lawmakers have done something, and we need to be prepared for that defense. Okay, here’s what Republicans in Congress have done: abortion bills.  Votes to repeal “Obamacare.” Phony “scandals.” Budgetary hostage taking. Filibustering and blocking even the basic functions of our democracy. That’s during the few days in between their lengthy taxpayer-paid vacations when they’re even in session. And if you want to see what the extreme Republicans (yes, “extreme” should be used frequently to modify “Republican”) do when they have the votes, look no further than Republican-run states like Texas.

So feel free to begin the 2014 election argument. You have a good one to make.

*If you use the phrase out of context, such as on a bumper sticker, simply replace “They” with “Republicans.”

12 Responses to The Democrats’ three-word slogan for 2014
  1. Robert Pool
    August 2, 2013 | 2:13 pm

    If the leadership in the Democratic party doesn’t declare all-out war on modern conservatism, we might lose the senate. They are going to go all-out in 2014 because they know they’re staring into the abyss and abyss is looking back. You’re right though and “they did nothing” is a perfect slogan for 2014.

    Tip to people making attack ads: bring back the GOP/TP attack ads about jobs from 2010. Here we are 4 years later. Where’s those jobs at, Boehner? These nutjobs can’t keep blaming the president forever.

  2. Messaging Matters
    August 2, 2013 | 2:32 pm

    Thanks Robert. Absolutely, the things the GOP Congress does run counter to their 2010 promises. Here’s video of John Boehner in 2010 saying the Republicans would focus on “jobs”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qdhujpa42gM

  3. Tom Diehl
    August 2, 2013 | 10:15 pm

    “Enough is Enough!!!”

  4. Messaging Matters
    August 2, 2013 | 10:25 pm

    Thanks Tom, that’s a good one too. It sounds like the attitude Harry Reid and Senate Democrats expressed, finally, after all the Republican filibustering and obstruction referenced in the post.

  5. El Ronbo
    August 4, 2013 | 6:26 am

    So completely off the mark. You’re confusing wants and needs.
    Do we need Congress to act on these things? Obviously. But elections aren’t about needs. They’re about wants. The people most desperately in need have the least impact. The people who want the most have the most impact.
    And many, many Americans want a government that does nothing. I know this is hard for many of my fellow Democrats to accept, just as it’s hard many libertarians to accept that the country isn’t flocking to their philosophy.
    But it’s true. Boehner has said judge Congress by how many laws they repeal, not how many they pass.
    Sure, from a policy standpoint that’s incredibly stupid, but with huge swathes of the electorate irrationally distrustful of *any* government action, it sells.

  6. Messaging Matters
    August 4, 2013 | 11:51 am

    Thanks Ronbo. I think you’re confusing a small number of Republican activists with the American electorate. If you want proof that most voters, including many with impact, want a government that does something, just look at the polls when Congressional Republicans shut down or threaten to shut down the government. Voters crush the Republican Party when that happens, which is why there is a GOP civil war right now over precisely that issue, as well as other issues such as immigration reform.

  7. Ray
    August 6, 2013 | 3:33 pm

    C’mon, make it deservedly stronger: “They REFUSED to do anything!”

  8. Messaging Matters
    August 6, 2013 | 3:59 pm

    Thanks Ray, that’s good. However, it may be more words than many American voters can handle!

  9. Nils Davis
    August 7, 2013 | 5:35 pm

    Great phrase! It could be a winner. And it’s so easy to use in lots of different contexts. “You asked for more jobs. They did nothing.” “I handed them the deal they asked for. They did nothing.” “You demanded that they govern. THEY DID NOTHING!”

    Anyway. Got a little carried away there. Now have to rope in some of Haidt’s five dimensions of political decision making – “You need them to stand with you, and they did nothing.” (Group membership.) “You need them to uphold the authority of our Constitution. They did nothing.” (Respect for authority.)

  10. Messaging Matters
    August 7, 2013 | 6:01 pm

    Thanks Nils, great examples!

  11. Connie Weeks
    August 10, 2013 | 10:43 am

    Why not say, “Dems. are for job creation, equal pay for women, protecting our public schools, protecting our citizens, fair immigration rules, saving Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, making contrbution
    limits on persons or corporations, term limits on state and national politician, as well as Supreme Court Justices.? I could probably go on, but you get the jist of what I’m saying.

  12. Messaging Matters
    August 10, 2013 | 6:03 pm

    Thanks Connie, you’re absolutely right that, as indicated in paragraph 2 of the post, “the Democrats must articulate their positive agenda.” Your list is excellent. And then the Democrats need to ask voters, what did the Congressional Republicans do on all those great issues you mention? And the answer is the 3-word chorus suggested here: “They did nothing.”

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