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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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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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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A Short History of Field Operations

Jim Broadbent as “Boss” Tweed in the movie Gangs of New York.

Modern professional field operation can be traced directly back to traditional Democratic political organizations and their counterparts – urban progressives who saw what the “ward bosses” were doing, and thought, “we need to be as effective as they are, but without the leg-breaking”.

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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