Creating powerful messages

From Civil Society How To: Before beginning a campaign, Frank Sharry (Executive Director of America’s Voice) recommends considering three points.

  1. What is your message? What is the story? What are you asking for?

Before beginning any project, it’s important to imagine how it would be communicated in the media.

What’s the headline? Sharry reminds us that politicians don’t make decisions based on policy papers, but on the stories being told about the issues in the media.

  1. What does it mean to put communications at the center?

At the start of any campaign it’s important to ask WHO says WHAT to WHOM and HOW?

WHO: It’s essential that you are prepared to speak about your issue. Everyone involved should be able to describe the campaign. It’s also useful to look for unusual allies.

HOW: Consider the multiple means of communicating any message including film and video, blogs and online media, research publications, meetings and presentations.

WHOM: Be specific about who you want to connect with.

  1. Think about what you want to say first. Use a “message house.” This prepares you.

[View full article on Civil Society How To…]

The Political Brain

From American political psychologist Drew Westen: The Political Brain is a ground-breaking investigation into the role of emotion in determining the political life of the nation by Drew Westen, professor of psychology and psychiatry at Emory University. Westen shows how politicians can capture the hearts and minds of the electorate through examples of what candidates have said—or could have said—in debates, speeches, and ads.

The Political Brain shows how a different view of the mind and brain leads to a different way of talking with voters about issues that have tied the tongues of Democrats for much of forty years—such as abortion, guns, taxes, and race. You can’t change the structure of the brain. But you can change the way you appeal to it.

[View full webpage with videos at politicalbrain.com…] [Go to The Political Brain book listing on Amazon…]

Left vs Right: A neat American infographic

An American infographic which seems to mostly do a really good job of summarising the differences between left-wing politics and right-wing politics.

Just two trans-Atlantic disclaimers:

  • Usage of red and blue is the other way around in US politics.
  • The “support” percentages are definitely US not UK figures! 

#LeftVsRight #UnderstandingConservatism: An American infographic which seems to mostly do a really good job of…

Posted by Stop The Tories Channel on Wednesday, November 8, 2017

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Why do people vote Conservative?

From The Learning Spy: Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion proposes that there are six distinct foundations, or continuums, that act like ‘taste receptors’ on the moral tongue. They are:

  1. Care/harm: cherishing and protecting others.
  2. Fairness/cheating: rendering justice according to shared rules.
  3. Liberty/oppression: the loathing of tyranny.
  4. Loyalty/betrayal: standing with your group, family, nation.
  5. Authority/subversion: obeying tradition and legitimate authority.
  6. Sanctity/degradation: abhorrence for disgusting things, foods, actions.

He explains that those of us on the left tend to value the care/harm foundation most highly. We’re also moved by the liberty/oppression foundation and, in an incomplete way, the fairness/cheating foundation. We see it as morally right to care for others, protect the vulnerable from injustice and oppression, and to divide resources equitably. And, at least in terms of morality, that’s pretty much all we care about.

Those on the right meanwhile care about all six foundations. They see family values as a moral issue in the way those on left tend not to comprehend. Although they care about the care/harm foundation, they care mainly about protecting the groups to which they belong whereas liberals are more likely to care not just about people from different groups, but will also see animal welfare and the environment as moral issues. Of course some voters will have voted Conservative for venal, self-interested motives but not all. Working-class voters who decided in favour of the Tories are not stupid or selfish; they just care about different things. They get upset by ‘scroungers’ soaking up benefits and immigrants taking their jobs. They feel angry at what they see as wasteful public services supporting the idle, the feckless and the undeserving. They care about ‘our brave boys’ fighting foreign wars and they care – at least to some extent – about God’s views on marriage, homosexuality and abortion.

[Read full article on The Learning Spy…]

Are we influenced by how our friends vote?

From the British Election Study: Political scientists have known for a long time that talking politics to family and friends makes a difference to how people vote. Bob Huckfeldt of University of California Davis pioneered the use of data on the political discussion networks of electors, and showed how voters took their political cues from those closest to them, especially immediate family. Although people may be more inclined to talk politics with people they already agree with, Huckfeldt and others have shown that these selection effects are actually rather small, as people form relationships for much better reasons than politics, and tend to talk politics with the people closest to them. Sharing similar opinions with a close political discussant can re-enforce existing preferences and behaviours and also insulate against other influences.  Despite this, while politics discussion networks tend to display fairly high levels of agreement, they are rarely completely homogenous.

[Read full article on British Election Study website…]