Tag Archives: political framing

The REAL Reason Conservatives Win Even While Progressive Ideas are Favored

The following piece was written by Joe Brewer, a visionary and progressive activist practiced in political framing and thinking with values first. It makes some great points, drawing on deep human history. Thanks Joe, and pay special attention to his lines in bold.

The REAL Reason Conservatives Always Win

by on June 22, 2012 in Political Mind, Progressive Infrastructure, Social Movements

Have you ever wondered why it is that Progressives repeatedly lose ground in American politics?  We almost always have the facts on our side.  The experts agree with us.  Hell, a lot of us are the experts.  And yet history clearly shows that Conservatives have the best political game in town.  They dominate political discourse, establishing which frames shape the most important issues of the day.  Their values associated with rugged individualism, mass consumption, and a contempt for civil society are blasted at the American public through massive media outlets that they have acquired and built up over the last several decades.  And when the global economy melts down as a direct result of their economic and fiscal policies, who gets blamed?  In a word, liberals.

What’s going on here?  Why is it that Conservatives are so good at winning and Progressives produce a lackluster resistance at best?  The answer comes from a fundamental insight from evolutionary biology.  Stated simply, it goes like this: Continue reading

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The Republican Brain – the podcast

Chris Mooney has written a book The Republican Brain, that is getting a lot of attention. I have not gotten a chance to read it yet, but it is on my short list. Mooney is a journalist who takes a special interest in psychology and ideology. He has studied the studies and comes up with some interesting findings – they support the principles from which this blog is founded, mostly picked up from the work of George Lakoff. He supports the values based approach of communication. Mooney does a pretty good job of being respectful, conversational, and realistic when talking about academics – I’ve included a podcast from him below.

“Arguing facts when the divide is about values doesn’t work” Mooney says (start listening around 29min – 31 for a good explanation of this). Think about news sources you actually trust; the news is relevantbecause of that trust, it would be irrelevant without it. When you hear an unbelievable news story cited, the first thing you want to know is “who says so?”, so that you can determine whether or not it is information to believe.

The recording is rather long so I will give you the very shortened version of the Cliff’s notes. Conservatives and Liberals tend to self select stories that support ideas they already believe in, however, liberals are much more willing to accept new information and be open to change. Liberals relish nuance, conservatives crave decisiveness. Liberals are messier, conservatives want order. Mooney talks about belonging to a club of sorts, and how the language we use philosophically indicates what club we’re in. If we can avoid that language, we are more likely to keep minds and doors open to change destructive ways.

The podcast is about fifty minutes, so if you have some drive time or similar – it’s an interesting discussion for armchair political scientists. If you want to hear some of the meat, hit it at about 29 minutes, then try again around 41 minutes for a bit of advice on how to connect from the perspective of a secular group. Here is the piece –  Chris Mooney Center for Inquiry The Republican Brain.

The bottom line is emotion. Everyone first thinks with their emotions. Those politicians that connect on that level will do better than those that don’t. These could be fear based or positive, but nuance and facts are still not winning elections. It is not against liberal values to show emotion, to show passion for what you believe in, even in the case of atheists. We can all find our moral code and work on a language to talk about it honestly and connect with folks no matter their political stripe.

We live in dynamic political times, you never know what meme will catch on – maybe it will be one that you created. Make it one of values, make it count.

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