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Is The White House Messaging Team Doing What It Needs To Do To Defeat Trump?

Polling yesterday from Monmouth includes what Americans say their top concerns are— and a plurality say that neither Trump nor Biden, nor either political party, care much about their economic well-being. Look at that chart above. When respondents were “asked about the federal government’s impact on their top family concern, 47% say recent government actions have hurt them, 40% say there has been no impact, and just 13% say government actions have actually helped them. Most Republicans (72%) say their family has been hurt by the federal government, while 48% of independents say they have been hurt and 44% say there has been no impact. While few Democrats (18%) say their family’s top concern has been hurt by government actions, more say there has been no impact (52%) than say they have actually been helped (30%).”

A member of Congress I speak with frequently told me today that she’s worried that Biden’s strategy is going to be a bust because it concentrates too much on saving democracy and not enough on saving voters’ financial well-being. “Completely overplaying their hand," she said, “with the feigned moral superiority that has gotten them into so much trouble already. I’m also really annoyed with their attempted cultural appropriation of the term ‘freedom.’  Leaving aside the freedom of pregnant women, that’s not really the problem at all. Having Trump hijack the government is not a loss of ‘freedom’; it’s a loss of any chance for equality and the common good. Government is the only vehicle for accomplishing common purposes, not ‘freedom.’ That’s what Trump is taking away from us.” 

We were discussing a memo that began “Across the country, MAGA Republicans are continuing their attacks on our freedoms, families, and futures, even as the former MAGA President wracks up indictments for threatening our country to further a criminal conspiracy to cling to power. While the MAGA faction in the House of Representatives rules for the wealthiest few at the expense of working people, MAGA Justices on the Supreme Court have issued a series of devastating rulings, from allowing politicians to overturn the will of the people, to taking away working people’s right to strike, to attacking the freedoms of Native Americans, immigrants, and LGBTQ+ people. And these same Justices are now contemplating if and how MAGA’s 2020 attempt to overthrow the will of the people will be adjudicated. Make no mistake: these actions are a continuation of MAGA’s criminal conspiracy to take away our freedoms that we’ve been beating back for years. It is vital that we not merely respond to specific legislative atrocities and judicial assaults in isolation, but instead expose the throughline connecting these attacks from SCOTUS to the House of Representatives to state legislatures to the billionaires and corporations financing all of them. Based on the latest research, this toolkit provides narratives and guidance on the Trump indictments, upcoming Supreme Court cases as well as other pressing flashpoints to mobilize our base and persuade the conflicted to defeat fascism and win our freedoms. This toolkit will be updated with the latest guidance as rulings are released and more indictments against the former MAGA president are announced. We are planning to add content and messaging to help organizers, campaigners, and communicators shape the public conversation and the political response to this moment.”

Some suggestions for communicators:

● Push this beyond one actor: the MAGA Republicans that supported, schemed, and covered up for him are still in power today and must be held accountable

● Connect MAGA complicity to the larger pattern— from Congress, to the Courts, to states— of deliberately spreading lies, breaking laws, and fomenting corruption in order to grab and hold onto power.

● Focus on outcome arguments about how this endangers our country and harms voters’ lives and livelihoods— are stronger than process framings about hypocrisy or “rule of law.”

● Emphasize the role everyday Americans played in grand juries. ‘We the people’ weighed the evidence and decided to indict.

● Activate public defiance and use these indictments to remind voters that we can and will stand up to and defeat this fascist faction.

● Anchor the Trump trial outcome to the value of protecting our freedom.

● Underscore that the trial was about Trump’s attack on our freedom by deceiving voters to make clear what is at stake.

● Provide an explanation for the outcome of the case.

● Pivot attention toward the pending federal trial for another attack on our freedom, the attempted overthrow of the 2020 election and the complicity of the MAGA Justices on the Supreme Court in blocking accountability.

● Imbue voters with agency and mitigate against their understandable cynicism.

The memo went on for dozens of pages and included sample social media posts and graphics like the two above and the 4 below. And lots and lots of dos and don’ts and “messaging best practices” like:

● Leading with Shared Values: We must connect with and motivate our audiences by opening our messages with values, and name explicitly how they’re shared across race, class, and gender. We want to tap into what people believe in and aspire— in order to begin inoculating against the deliberate division and scapegoating from our opposition. We start out by creating a big us before we identify the small them violating our values to enrich themselves at our expense.

● Saying What We Are For and Avoiding Negation: In their efforts to take away our freedoms, MAGA Republicans relentlessly and deliberately spread false claims. We must resist the understandable urge to directly refute everything they allege. When we repeat their claims, even in an effort to refute them, we lend them credence. Studies show that information that feels more familiar to people, because they have heard it repeated more often, registers as more credible. Thus, we must contend with their falsehoods by affirming our values within our own frame, then expose how and why our opponents sow doubts and stoke fears. Instead of repeating their lies, for example, we call out how they deliberately spread false claims so they can turn us against each other, take away our freedoms, and impose their will— and remind our audience that by joining together, we can and will protect our freedoms.

● Naming A Villain: As in any effective story, we must name a clear villain. This is particularly imperative for our efforts to protect our freedoms because MAGA Republicans will loudly and insistently cast our communities as villains, pointing the finger at Black and brown, transgender and queer, and Native and new Americans for the challenges a wealthy and powerful few have created. If we fail to impugn the true culprits and just passively name harms without an agent (e.g., “election workers are being threatened”), then our opponents’ explanation for the problem goes uncontested in the public conversation. We must always articulate who they are and what they are doing in the active voice and ascribe motivations behind their nefarious actions.

This is all good stuff. But none of it addresses the top 7 concerns of ordinary Americans (in that chart above). Yesterday, Alex Thompson reported that there are some top Dems” who worry that Biden has a losing strategy, like my friend, “increasingly dubious about his theory for victory in November, which relies on voter concerns about Jan. 6, political violence, democracy and Donald Trump's character… A Democratic strategist in touch with the campaign told Axios: ‘It is unclear to many of us watching from the outside whether the president and his core team realize how dire the situation is right now, and whether they even have a plan to fix it. That is scary.’”

Biden is doing some good things that will woo voters— and some that will do the exact opposite. Student loan forgiveness is a great idea and Trump is playing right into Biden’s hands by denouncing it and announcing he will reverse the popular policy.

Biden’s Gaza agenda is the opposite— failing and very unpopular. Gregory Meeks, a completely corrupt AIPAC whore from Queens, laughably the ranking Dem on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who would never go against anything from the White House “signed off on a major arms sale to Israel, including 50 F-15 fighter jets worth more than $18 billion, after facing intense pressure from the Biden administration and pro-Israel advocates to allow the transaction to move forward.”


Dems are starting to realize that they have a problem. Better late than never, I guess. In 2016, Team HRC didn't realize they were in trouble in MI until the final weekend. Even though Russ Feingold's campaign was sending distress signals from WI, Team HRC didn't realize they were in trouble there until returns started coming in on election night. They lost a key state, a good guy lost a comeback attempt, and a very bad guy got another Senate term.

It still hasn't sunk in with the donkey that, regardless of the top line economic #'s on U3, inflation, and GDP growth, tens of millions of potential Dem voters are hurting. As per Umair Haque:

What are people’s anxieties…

Jun 21
Replying to

Your side isn't just unconditionally supporting ethnic cleansing... "it's helping a fundamentally unhinged opposing party gain power."

not just power. absolute power. the way hitler did it in '33.

and you are still going to vote for ... THAT!! The logical question is... WHY? Find a mirror. Use it.

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