Take back the public debate!

Message strategy training for political communications professionals and other Liberal stakeholders.

Oct 14th, Thursday evening, 5pm Pacific/8pm Eastern.
Oct 23rd, Saturday morning, 10am Pacific/1pm Eastern.

Nov 3rd, Wednesday afternoon, 2pm Pacific, 5pm Eastern.
More coming soon!

A single two-hour session for political professionals, activists and others who want to improve our messaging, stop playing defense and get control of the public debate!

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For experienced political communications professionals and activists who are already familiar with the basic concepts of framing and want to learn how to craft their own framing strategies and apply them in their day to day work.

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About Antonia

For more than 25 years, Antonia Scatton has been behind the scenes, working for, training and advising political campaigns, party committees and advocacy organizations across the country. Her work has primarily involved the kind of deep strategic planning, community engagement and organizational development that help people win in the short-term and enable long-term growth.

Antonia is an expert in political messaging and framing. She studied cognitive linguistics with messaging guru and best-selling author, George Lakoff, and worked closely with him for more than a year to develop practical ways for people to apply his discoveries about the science of messaging in their day to day work.

Now, for the first time, Antonia is taking her extensive knowledge and making it available to the broader community. Her hope is to improve our messaging skills and have a productive conversation about what our community can do to encourage innovation and change.

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The pandemic caused an economic natural disaster.
We need rescue, relief and rebuilding.

If we frame the proposals currently being debated in Congress as disaster rescue and relief instead of as stimulus spending, we’ll put the focus on people’s well-being and our moral obligations, and block thinking in terms of economic analyses that completely leave out the cost of human suffering.

The questions being debated shouldn’t be about whether we need to rescue people, but how.

When disaster strikes, Americans step up. That’s a classic example of mainstream liberal American values at work.

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How to be an Anti-Anti-Governmentist.

With multiple crises on our hands, most Americans really want government to do more to solve our problems. Thankfully, our current leadership is doing everything they can to show people not only that government can solve problems, but that sometimes government is the only thing that can.

Still, anti-government rhetoric permeates our public debate and creates political obstacles to our taking much needed action. We need to figure out how to articulate a positive view of government so we can undo decades of damage.

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Educational Elitism: The culture war we’re currently losing – but don’t even know we’re in.

How is the Right winning over voters without college degrees? By portraying us as prejudiced against those with less education.

The conservative Right control the agenda of the public debate by 1. saying things that are blatantly offensive or demonstrably false and 2. proposing laws that are offensive and clearly unconstitutional.

We’re the Libs. They trigger us. We respond – giving oxygen to their dumpster fire. We can’t resist correcting people who are wrong or calling out people who are racist or sexist, and they know it. That’s how they control us.

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Blueprint for a Better Party

Real improvement requires that we open our ears and minds to what others can tell us, even if it means re-examining our own assumptions.

I developed this Blueprint in 2018 with the leadership of the state Democratic Party of Arizona, to be deployed in early 2019 through the 2020 elections. Arizona flipped blue in 2020 with a huge 4.78 point increase in Democratic performance (Clinton: 44.6% to Biden: 49.4%).

The Blueprint is a set of recommendations for a strategic improvement process to build capacity, improve services to candidates, develop leadership at all levels, increase volunteer participation, develop year round community presence and voter engagement, and improve the party brand both internally and externally.

These recommendations were based on more than 120 individual interviews and feedback from hundreds of party stakeholders including staff, leadership and volunteers at all levels, professionals, community activists and representatives of allied organizations.

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Learning from Lakoff

Professor Lakoff’s discoveries in cognitive science elevate his work on political framing from “good advice” to “critical truths we ignore at our own peril”.

We have to understand how public opinion changes and the structure of our competing moral systems if we are to succeed in reaching people and overturning the Right’s dominance over our public debate.

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It’s not about policy positions. Emotion moves swing voters.

They use emotions to connect with people. We use logic to try to convince people. Obama got it right in 2008. So why do we keep getting it wrong?

Drew Westen shows that swing voters move based on which party they feel more positive about at a given moment, which party they are willing to give a chance to take the reins.

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Anatomy of a Message

How do you develop a core message strategy? You need to figure out the one message you want to sink in over the course of the entire campaign. What is the relationship between that core message and the content you produce?

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A Short History of Field Operations

Modern professional field operation can be traced directly back to traditional urban political organizations and their counterparts – local activists who saw what the “ward bosses” were doing, and thought, “we need to be as effective as they are, even if we don’t have patronage jobs to give away”.

What we have to remember is that it can take a decade or more to build a really effective precinct operation, because the power to persuade and really get out the vote is in the personal relationships that your local organizers have with the people in their communities.

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