Yesterday's Daily Dose got a lot of people's attention after asking an important question - with all the attention on Foxconn, why aren't any Democrats talking about our values and how Foxconn does not share them? Today, a follow up to provide Democrats in Wisconsin (and nationwide for that matter) with some science-based advice on finding a new economic message that DOES evoke progressive values.
In late July, I wrote the following:
"Foxconn is a game changer for Democrats. If the strategists and upper echelon don't pivot their message...and get away from the knee-jerk, conservatively-framed attacks, and towards a more empathetic community message, 2018 will be a very bad year for Democrats."
Based on what's been said and written by prominent Assembly Democrats recently, the urgency to evolve messaging strategy is increasing. In brief, here's what Democrats and progressives could start doing NOW:
Abandon ANY language and phrases that echo and reinforce the pro-corporate conservative Republican worldview (frame). This includes (but is not limited to) "job creation", "invest in business", the term "deal" in any context, "good paying jobs", and "hard working families". These are the big ones Democrats use all the time, and they only HELP corporate conservatives. Start talking about and acting on progressive ideas (frame) about the economy. First and foremost, TELL THE TRUTH using progressive ideas about corporations like Foxconn. Here's how that looks...
Corporations exist for one reason - profit. What makes that profit possible is people. People who work, people who buy products/services, people who pay taxes, and people who participate in the economy in any way. "We the people" are the government, and we the people create profit through our actions. "People are profit creators". Because we care about our communities and nation (empathy), we have come together through our government to create all the things that make private prosperity possible. Especially for corporations like Foxconn.
Because we have acted on our values (responsibility for others) to provide things like roads, schools, infrastructure, health research, sewers, a court system (which greatly benefits and protects corporations), etc. - corporations like Foxconn have a responsibility to act in a manner consistent with our values. Especially since they would not exist were it not for "we the people." Elizabeth Warren stated this very well in one of her campaign speeches (sad that Barack Obama messed it up, and these ideas did not get greater play in public discourse):
Now, in the progressive frame based on empathy, Foxconn has the following moral responsibilities which most people would agree with:
1. To ensure that the "profit creators" receive a fair portion of the profit they helped create, as a living wage and benefits so people who work for Foxconn can have a good quality of life.
2. To ensure that they "pay forward" the investment we the people have made in them, by paying their fair share of taxes as a reinvestment in the people who helped them succeed.
Most important, is that "we the people" and our government have a moral responsibility to do the following:
1. Protect PEOPLE from greedy corporations and others who only act in their self-interest, with no regard for the people who have helped them in their endeavors.
2. Empower ALL PEOPLE with protections and resources necessary to live a meaningful and prosperous life.
All of the above ideas are progressive, positive, provide a better future vision than pro-corporate Republicans offer (because it's about all of us working together through our empathy), and evoke the idea that being free and prosperous comes with a moral responsibility for the freedom and responsibility of others. They make it easy to show people how corporations like Foxconn don't share our values. The above ideas will also provide people with hope that we can work together for a better future.
These are the ideas that can overcome fear and greed. It's time for Democrats and progressives to start using them.