Category Archives: Democratic Messaging

Can Hurricanes Harvey and Irma bring Democrats together?

Citizens cleaning up in Sebring, FL after Hurricane Irma

During the recent disastrous Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, one thing has stood out: Americans came together to help each other in life and death situations, both on the ground and through generous donations to those in need. In most cases, those providing such help didn’t know the people they were helping, much less their political persuasions. Compared to such inspirational American spirit, the current intra-party squabbling on the Democratic side, colloquially between the “Bernie people” and the “Hillary people,” seems to pale. Perhaps, therefore, this is a good opportunity for both sides in the squabble to have a reset, and to focus on what’s really most important.

The Democrats and the power of Why

Democratic Scrabble

Much has been written about the Democratic Party’s new economic theme which it unveiled in July. This new theme is called “A Better Deal.” Unfortunately, a lot of the feedback for the Democrats over their new messaging has been negative. Much of the criticism centers around the fact that “A Better Deal” is not an organic, positive slogan or underlying message, but rather a comparison to Donald Trump and the Republicans. Indeed, the terminology plays off of Trump’s first and most famous book, “The Art of the Deal,” as well as Trump’s frequent use of the word “deal” in both business and political situations. There is a reason why we came up with Messaging Maxim #8: Don’t use the other side’s labels. Doing so is like playing on the other team’s field, with the other team’s rules. It gives your opponents an advantage and has an air of “me too” desperation. Why couldn’t the Democrats come up with their own, more original and inspiring theme?

The solution may lie in what’s called “the Power of Why.”

Social media coverage of Hurricane Harvey brings Americans together

Driver receives assistance in Pearland, TX during Hurricane Harvey

This past weekend, Twitter and Facebook posts about the Mayweather-McGregor fight gave way to posts about Hurricane Harvey making landfall in Texas, and causing tremendous flooding devastation. Since then, as more traditional media such as broadcast and cable TV news are making admirable efforts on the scene with live reporting (and even some rescue work), social media users are sending around gobs of information, donation and volunteering tips, and rescue requests. Here are some of the highlights of social media activity in Houston, around the U.S. and in other countries as well:

How to talk to your Republican friends about Donald Trump

Donald Trump: If it does not fit, you must quit

There’s no sport in bashing Donald Trump nowadays. At least once a week, and sometimes once per day, Trump does or says something so shocking, insensitive or stupid that we just can’t believe it. The most recent shocker was Trump’s impromptu press conference days after the tragic pro-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that included a terrorist attack, where Trump blamed “many sides,” and said there were “fine people” on the pro-Nazi side. Eventually, we come to expect more such behavior from Trump.

It’s therefore easy for Donald Trump’s critics to bond with one another and trade attacks on Trump. But what if you have friends who are Republicans and Trump supporters? What can you say to them without wrecking the friendship? I have come up with the following statement that just might do the trick, and maybe even make your friends think twice about their support for Trump:

Trump spokesman gives up on Liberty

The Statue of Liberty, gateway for many American immigrants.

On Wednesday, Donald Trump‘s senior policy advisor Stephen Miller had a shocking exchange with a reporter in the White House Press Room, regarding Trump’s immigration policy.

Miller spoke about a Republican proposal co-authored by Trump White House officials which would reduce legal immigration into the United States by about half in the next 10 years, and favor English-speaking immigrants and skilled workers. CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta then asked about the change this would mean for America. Acosta quoted “The New Colossus,” the poem which adorns the Statue of Liberty, asking:

The Statue of Liberty says, “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” It doesn’t say anything about speaking English or being able to be a computer programmer. Aren’t you trying to change what it means to be an immigrant coming into this country if you’re telling them, you have to speak English? Can’t people learn how to speak English when they get here?

Miller responded by saying “the poem that you’re referring to was added later, is not actually part of the original Statue of Liberty.”

Democrats finally come up with a positive theme

President Franklin Roosevelt, who called his agenda the “Fair Deal”

This week, Democratic Party leaders finally revealed their positive unifying agenda for America. On Sunday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the second highest-ranking elected Democrat, published an op-ed in the Washington Post. Yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the highest-ranking elected Democrat, published his op-ed in the New York Times. The Democrats are calling their plan “A Better Deal.”  According to Schumer’s op-ed:

Democrats will show the country that we’re the party on the side of working people — and that we stand for three simple things. First, we’re going to increase people’s pay. Second, we’re going to reduce their everyday expenses. And third, we’re going to provide workers with the tools they need for the 21st-century economy.

Climate change hits home

 

“Burn Notice” TV program filming disrupted by Miami Beach flooding

There have been a spate of articles in recent months demonstrating that climate change is now hitting homeowners, business owners and local governments square in the pocketbooks. While Florida is the tip of the spear on climate change due to its low elevation and prevalence of water, folks in other states as disparate as Vermont are feeling it too. Americans have a track record that, when things affect us monetarily, it becomes a tipping point where people call for action. We are now reaching that tipping point.

James Comey’s description of Trump akin to a Mafia Don

James Comey’s attitude before Congress today

Today, former FBI Director James Comey gave his anxiously-awaited testimony before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence since Donald Trump fired him in May. Comey’s testimony, including his written statement that was released yesterday, was stunning in several respects, from the circumstances of his firing, to the Mafia-like treatment Comey says  Trump gave him regarding the ongoing investigation of former Trump National Security Advisor (and Trump presidential campaign official) Michael Flynn over Flynn’s contacts with Russian officials. Even people who were hyping Comey’s upcoming testimony in advance were perhaps surprised at some of what Comey said about Trump, including that Trump is lying about several Trump/Russia matters.

Hillary Clinton’s stirring speech

Hillary Clinton at 2016 campaign event

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton returned to her alma mater, Wellesley College, and gave a commencement speech that was full of inspiration, humor, warnings about the direction that America is taking, and some thinly veiled attacks on Donald Trump and his White House. The audience ate it up, and Clinton’s speech is a potent blueprint for Democratic causes and candidates.

Donald Trump’s war with the press

White House protest the day after FBI Director James Comey was fired

White House protest the day after FBI Director James Comey was fired

After a disastrous week for Donald Trump and his White House, with ever-changing stories about Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, Trump tweeted on Friday that he may discontinue White House daily press briefings. This follows a series of disturbing incidents exhibiting shabby Trump administration treatment of the national news media, including:

  • Banning The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, CNN, Politico, BuzzFeed, the BBC and the Guardian from press briefings.
  • Ejecting Andrea Mitchell of NBC News from State Department events where she tried to ask questions.
  • Repeatedly referring to the mainstream news media as “fake news” whenever they report on real stories that are unflattering to the Trump administration, especially the investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections.
  • Having a reporter arrested after he asked questions at Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price at the West Virginia state Capitol.
  • Cutting off veteran reporter April Ryan, who is a black woman, and telling her, “stop shaking your head” while she was asking a question in the White House Press Room.