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(2,805 posts)
Thu Nov 2, 2017, 12:29 AM Nov 2017

A frame that could give Democrats the unifying concept to WIN?

Conservatives often complain that they’ve been exiled from power, whether in the corridors of the Capitol or the pages of the New York Times. Yet conservative ideas have dominated American politics for thirty years. The centerpiece of that dominance is the notion that the market equals freedom and government is the threat to freedom. Despite the Great Recession and election of Barack Obama, the most progressive candidate to win the presidency since 1964, that idea retains its hold.


If there is to be a true realignment—not just of parties but of principles, not just of policy preferences or cognitive frames but of deep beliefs and ideas—we must confront conservatism’s political philosophy. That philosophy reflects more than a bloodless economics or narrow self-interest; it draws from and drives forward a distinctly moral vision of freedom, with deep roots in American political thought.


We must, in other words, change the argument from the abstractions of the free market to the very real power of the businessman. More than posing an impersonal threat to the deliberations of a democratic polity—as the progressive opposition to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision would have it, or as liberals like Paul Krugman and Hendrik Hertzberg have suggested about the unionbusting in Wisconsin—the businessman imposes concrete and personal constraints on the freedom of individual citizens. What conservatives fear above all else—more than higher taxes or lower profits—is any challenge to that power, any inversion of the obligations of deference and command, any extension of freedom that would curtail their own.


We must also change the argument about government. Government need not be a source of constraint, as conservatives claim. Nor is it designed to protect citizens from the vagaries of the market, as many liberals claim—a formulation that depicts citizens as needy and passive and opens liberals to the charge of paternalism and condescension. When government is aligned with democratic movements on the ground, as Walter Reuther and Martin Luther King Jr. understood, it becomes the individual’s instrument for liberating herself from her rulers in the private sphere, a way to break the back of private autocracy.


The platform proposals I've heard so far from people like Chuck Schumer have seemed weak and lackluster so far. But this article strikes me as providing a powerful ideal to run and win on. I think it would have legs and be a powerful counter to right wing framing. Would love to have the community give it some thought and let me know if you think it resonates. I think a powerful frame has helped the conservatives' rise, but this one strikes me as the argument that could take hold and spread.
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A frame that could give Democrats the unifying concept to WIN? (Original Post) summer_in_TX Nov 2017 OP
"Next time, vote Democrat." NBachers Nov 2017 #1
They had better come up with a unified position soon since the mid-terms are BigmanPigman Nov 2017 #2
Good lord. NurseJackie Nov 2017 #4
What hand wringing and fault finding? BigmanPigman Nov 2017 #5
### NurseJackie Nov 2017 #6
I found this key in the Nation article... bagelsforbreakfast Nov 2017 #3
I like Brits' "For the many not the few," also Democrats for a Fair America, Democrats for democracy stuffmatters Nov 2017 #7
The Repugs have done strong branding summer_in_TX Nov 2017 #8


(51,813 posts)
2. They had better come up with a unified position soon since the mid-terms are
Thu Nov 2, 2017, 02:26 AM
Nov 2017

just around the corner. We can't rely on voters to elect a Dem rep based on an "anti-tRump" platform alone.


(42,862 posts)
4. Good lord.
Thu Nov 2, 2017, 03:00 PM
Nov 2017

The only time a party needs a "Unifying message" is during national elections. In fact, a solitary (unified) message can HURT House, Senate and state-level candidates.

What plays well in Vermont doesn't always have the same appeal in Peoria.

Enough with the hand-wringing and fault-finding, please. It's not helping anything. Thank you.



(1,427 posts)
3. I found this key in the Nation article...
Thu Nov 2, 2017, 03:39 AM
Nov 2017

"We must, in other words, change the argument from the abstractions of the free market to the very real power of the businessman."


"Without a strong government hand in the economy, men and women are at the mercy of their employer..."


(2,574 posts)
7. I like Brits' "For the many not the few," also Democrats for a Fair America, Democrats for democracy
Thu Nov 2, 2017, 05:55 PM
Nov 2017

Last edited Thu Nov 2, 2017, 06:26 PM - Edit history (1)

Keep it Simple. Democrats are the Party of Democracy, the Party of Fairness. Repeat relentlessly.

We have got to brand Democrats as the Party of Fairness and Democracy and Republicans rightly as the Party of privilege, inequality, bigotry, suppression
...branding only happens when our spokespeople start and frame every speech, remark, interview, debate with this simple concept.

Fairness for All has always defined our Democratic Party, Unfairness for Most has always defined the Republicans. Look at their "new" tax plan/cuts, their eternal opposition to equal pay for women,their anti democracy gerrymandering & voter suppression, their deification of corporations, contempt for the middle & working class and obsession to destroy soc sec, medicare and medicaid..

It's never been clearer than right now...Republicans are only for a government that serves/helps the wealthy & corporations, Democrats
want a government that serves/helps everybody. Fight for your Democracy, Vote Democratic. That's another good slogan.


(2,805 posts)
8. The Repugs have done strong branding
Tue Nov 7, 2017, 11:22 PM
Nov 2017

up and down ballot, during off-year as well as on year elections. If there's a broad enough unifying concept, it's roomy for all kinds of elections. So I'm not so sure the advice to not even try to have a unifying message in an off-year election is all that wise. It can be a source of strength. The GOP brand has been for them, unfortunately.

I don't know about you, but I sure hear puzzled questions from Democratic-leaning friends asking about our message. They are baffled why it isn't strong and consistent. (They're agitated about both the DNC and the state party's lack of a forceful message, as well as an inadequate (non-existent?) party response to a number of Trump and Texas admin failures.)

We should be dominating the various state and local elections, but these Repukes with their "less government, no new taxes" simplistic mantra have made gains in the states. It's been too long since any Dem won a statewide race in Texas or another of other states.

Our message or lack of one does not help here. And it makes it hard to recruit candidates, who look at the current landscape as one in which a Democratic win is very unlikely. Even though our demographics have been changing. The Republicans so far are even having success with targeting and getting the Latino vote in higher numbers here in Texas than one would think would be the case with all the anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies.

On the other hand, I'm thrilled about Virginia and New Jersey! Still, I think it would be easier with a strong, consistent message.

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