Daily Dose: Hope and caring overcomes fear and hate...or how to really defeat Trump

September 13, 2017

 Yesterday's "Daily Dose" provided insights as to why Trump's lies are so effective - and why conventional Democratic/progressive strategies are not only ineffective, but actually reinforce his message. Today, what we as progressives can start doing from the grassroots up, in our organizations and communities.


This must start at the grassroots level. For years, Democratic strategists and consultants at the state and national levels have been aware of this information. They continue to ignore and undermine efforts to evolve their strategies to the science, just because it does not fit their current model based on outdated beliefs. Meanwhile, conservative Republicans continue to increase their dominance of political and public discourse. Here's how to effectively beat Trump by evoking hope and empathy - which will overcome fear and greed.


1. Know that cognitive framing and propaganda are two very different things - Effectively framing is how we can communicate truth about the things we care about, and expose the lies which are spread through intentional propaganda in a way people will accept. 


2. Minimize publicizing and reinforcing Trump - Every time you repeat his words and ideas, you help him. Every time you try to attack him or his ideas, you help him by repeating those ideas. Start publicizing and communicating progressive ideas and values that can provide a better future for everyone.


3. Focus on communicating and acting on progressive ideas of freedom and democracy - Conservatives believe in personal liberty ("freedom") only, and that government is a big, scary monster that will come and take away your freedom. To them, democracy should only serve to keep government out of your life. These conservative ideas are now dominant. We need to change the frame! Do this by communicating and acting on the idea that our freedoms come with a moral responsibility for the freedom of others; and that democracy only works when we care about other people's freedom in our democracy. After all, what kind of a nation would we be if we only cared about ourselves? 


4. Focus on conservative Republican actions, not words - Instead of responding to every single tweet or statement that makes you angry, try pointing out how the actions of conservative Republicans are incompatible with our values of democracy and freedom. For example, how fewer innocent people are free to pursue a meaningful life because of their actions on immigration, education, etc.


5. Be careful not to spread "fake news" - Remember, even when you try to negate the fake news story by posting it, you still reinforce the ideas! This is one case where ignoring "fake news" WILL make it go away. Instead, focus on spreading real news from real news sources that reinforce our progressive values of empathy and having a moral responsibility for other people's freedom in a democracy. There are a lot of opportunities to do this!


6. Know the difference between partisan and moral - Democrats can evoke the conservative frame based on authoritarian hierarchy/self-interest; and Republicans can even evoke empathy. Focus on pointing out where empathy (caring for others as oneself as a moral responsibility) exists - especially when a Republican does it!


7. Focus on hope and empathy; no more helpless/hopeless talk - The latest science tells us that people are motivated to act and engage when they hear a positive message of hope and empathy. A message based on fear of loss and hopelessness evokes fear and causes people to disengage and hunker down.


8. Approach EVERY ISSUE from a progressive moral worldview (frame) - Every issue can be messaged in the progressive moral frame of empathy (caring for others), public good, and freedom with responsibility. For example, take the viewpoint of public good not corporate greed; protecting and empowering the people not idolizing the rich; preserve nature not destroy it. 


9. Get out of your social media bubbles and out into the community with these ideas! Instead of holding partisan gatherings, do things in your community with your groups FOR the community, and make it public. Live your progressive values of caring for others (empathy). Social media bubbles can prevent you from making valuable connections with people of all political stripes, based on your shared empathy - a core value which the vast majority of people share.


And share these 9 points with others. Together, we can overcome fear and greed with hope and empathy.