Blog

"Fire and Fury" is Gossip

I am skeptical that saying the president has lost it is and is "like a child" is helpful in an era of blue lies. We would actually do much better if we (liberals) steelman Trump — quite a job — but find something we can defend Trump against overreach, which at the same time makes the other accusations feel more real (it's no longer a spitting contest.) I think the accusation that "100% of the people around Trump…question his intelligence and fitness for office" is already being disputed by some people who would have to be in the 100%.

Quick cross-partisan recommendation: Ask how their policy will work.

Questions are one of the most powerful tools for mind-changing conversations. Asking someone why they believe in something, encouraging them to list the reasons (so you can argue with their reasons) is not typically effective. Instead of asking someone why they believe in a certain policy, especially a complex one, ask them to explain how their policy will work.

Techniques: 

Tension: Isolating Trolls and Keeping Your Voice

Two recommended communication techniques are to isolate trolls and to stick to your frame and values. These ideas are often in tension:

For example when neo-Nazis and white nationalists grab torches and march through our streets, we can isolate them and their supporters relatively easily, or talk about institutionalized and unconscious bias — where we have a lot of work to do before there is near-universal agreement.

Framing Exploration: Nazis in America

A variety of flavors of American white nationalism are on the rise. The Republican President has waffled about how evil Nazis are, often comparing them to the people protesting them. The racism-apologist frame is that this is a free-speech fight. That people giving Hitler's sieg heil salute and Americans who oppose them, if they get into a brawl, are equally at fault.

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.