Blog

Write Your Rep: Please Frame!

Most of the time we write congress to push them on a particular issue. With so many party-line votes, this is usually pointless in my district. What the Democrats are doing wrong is failing to put resources into developing and cooperating on messaging. Let's ask them to. I don't want to push my congresswoman to use the frame I prefer, but I want to hear why she chose the frame she did, to hear that someone bothered to run it past focus groups, and who she is cooperating with.

Framing that Aims to Lose: Reinforcing the Partisan Divide despite agreement on Civil Asset Forfeiture

If conservatives believe one thing, it’s that government shouldn’t be able to take your property arbitrarily. At least, that was when conservatives believed in something.
Robert Reich, a post going to thousands of progressives, on civil forfeiture.

This act by the Trump administration is a moment when conservatives distrustful of government just might be ready to have had enough. But our progressive leaders encourage us to assume the worst right from the beginning, to reinforce and remind and conservatives that we are on two teams and our team just scored a point. This is a moment when we can instead come together, act together, be one team again, across the partisan divide.

Techniques: 

Project: Attack the Conservatives Who Have Integrity

I think the secret to undoing Fox propaganda and Trump is a concerted social media attack on moderate conservatives. We often have social-media backwards: all attention is good attention. At least half the definition of a leader of either side is based on who the other side argues with. If I shout that Trump is wrong, my conservative relative defends Trump. If I should that McCain is wrong, he defends McCain. Find better conservative magazines, find reasonable articles that express a viewpoint we still disagree with, and blast (in a SMART way) away.

Framing Advocacy Group

Progressives need a grassroots movement to ask our congresspeople what their approach to framing is on particular issues. Instead of saying "please support bill X" in cases where they already do, get them hundreds of letters asking "What is your approach to framing issue X? Do you agree with George Lakoff's suggestions? Which other politicians are you coordinating with to get the message out coherently?" We should put pressure there -- it might not take much! Please add your comments. Do you want to be part of Cognitive Politics and lead this? Create a facebook group with me?

Name and Frame this trend: Creating pools of people with challenges, isolating them, and refusing to help

Help name and frame a big, unnamed trend in politics: On both health-care and school's choice, a central goal of Republican policy is to have those with challenges — pre-existing conditions or kids who struggle — placed into pools of people with challenges, and people without challenges not have to help. If you have a pre-existing condition, or are a kid with ADHD, the Republicans want you to bear all the consequences for yourself and others with challenges. Social Darwinism is an old term not out of place, but not "who-what-when" enough for an effective reframing.

A Moment on the Math: Xenophobia or Economic Anxiety; on the failure of regressions and the disutility of averages

PRRI released a study showing that Trump voters were more motivated by xenophobia and racism than economic anxiety. Except it didn't. This blog aims to explain what regressions are (the statistical method used by PRRI) in a way non-math-nerds can understand and apply (hopefully often). After discouraging overuse of regressions, I'll end by discouraging overuse of averages.