The Art of Political Messaging

Has anyone noticed some messaging issues in American politics recently? No doubt the election of Donald Trump and his love for non-stop tweets has at least clouded the political messaging landscape if not turned it upside down. Communications experts have watched as their heretofore successful methods of reaching the electorate with very specific and targeted messaging have been obliterated by Trump. For those in conservative media, it must be humorous to watch the chaos on the Left. Daily one can almost hear the cries in newsrooms across the Globe of, “What does he mean by that?” and, “What the heck is he thinking?” and, “How in the World could a sitting President say that?”

Donald Trump is teaching Mainstream Media “The Art of the Deal.” If they would simply read the book, they’d understand that messaging in the sales process — both before and DURING a sale  — is the most important element of setting the groundwork to close a deal. That messaging plan works in politics too.

Want some evidence that shows just how confused the Left are in their messaging template? The following was published in “thecampaignworkshop.com:”

Do you know the difference between a campaign message and an issue?

A strong campaign message can mean the difference between winning and losing. In the world of political messaging especially, on the progressive politics side, there is a lot of confusion between what is a campaign message and what is an issue. Why the confusion? “Issue politics” has become a passion and because of this many candidates and groups see the issue as the message. But this is often a mistake. Let’s try to stop the confusion. A campaign message is not the same as an issue. A true campaign message goes beyond an issue and focuses on a clear connection between the candidate and voters not just on a single issue level.

Go for emotion 

The issue is important, but a broader and sometimes more emotional message can incorporate the issue and continue to reach beyond it.

What is a message? What is an issue? 

First, let’s define what a message is and what is an issue. For example, a campaign message is a thematic view of the campaign’s message, that is often more emotional than pure policy. While an issue is a policy position the campaign has a certain problem.

Emotional connection with a theme 

So how do we make sure we get the emotional connection we need and the specificity that an issue brings? Use the message as the theme and the issue as a way to clarify the root of the message.
So while an issue should be a part of your campaign, it is only one part of your message and at the end of the day is rarely the whole thing.

Do your message homework: using the seven c’s and a message box can help you create a clear emotive message that connects beyond issues.

(In case you don’t know the “seven c’s” of communication, every journalist had them crammed down their throats by a Journalism professor: Completeness, Conciseness, Consideration, Clarity, Concreteness, Courtesy and Correctness. I would spend some time on these seven “IF” they were still demanded by editors of writers. We won’t waste your time! Those c’s were kicked out of journalism when “sensationalism at all costs” replaced “journalistic honesty and integrity” at least a decade ago.

Latest Messaging Faux pas of the Dems

Where should we begin?

“Impeach 45!”

Maxine Waters (D-CA) led the charge to impeach Donald Trump beginning the day of his Inauguration. Never mind not having evidence of “high crimes and misdameanors” — the elements required for impeachment. Waters doesn’t like the President, despises his policies, and beats the drum of impeachment every day. Even though a segment of Democrats on Capitol Hill would love for Mr. Trump to stumble and do something to open the impeachment door, they have seen the electorate grow numb to the cries for kicking the President out of the White House. The appetite for that path to get rid of President Trump is dying. But not the impeachment cries of Waters. And Dems are scurrying to find another message to get Waters on another path.

“Let’s Abolish ICE!”

Here’s another example of lack of cohesiveness of the Democrat Party’s messaging. With the false narrative of child jailing at the Southern Border, some opened the door to another radical idea for Dems: Abolish ICE. After all, ICE agents are the villains who carried out the President’s call to “rip babies from the arms of their illegal immigrant mothers.” The villains MUST go!

Unfortunately for Democrats, that call is going the way of “Impeach 45.” There’s no realistic way to justify doing away with the department of the federal government that is charged with keeping our borders intact and illegals out.

The cries to dismantle ICE were actually initiated by a 28-year-old political newcomer, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a former organizer for Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign, who had declared it was time for a generational, racial and ideological change. She two weeks ago shocked the Democrat Party and the World by soundly defeating Congressional incumbent Joe Crowley (D-NY) in a primary race in New York’s 14th Congressional District. She is a Socialist — a far-left Socialist — who immediately initiated cries for the abolishment of ICE.

A strong contingent of Congressional Democrats showed interest in adopting her message. Naturally they tested the temperatures of voters only to discover that Democrats in Congress who have strong Republican voter support in their districts were NOT going to be able to adopt the “Dump ICE” message. So…

The House on Wednesday passed a resolution — sponsored by a Louisiana Congressman — supporting ICE and condemning the idea of abolishing the agency. The non-binding resolution — which was brought to the House floor in response to Democrats’ introducing a bill to dismantle ICE and then announcing they would vote “no” on their own measure — passed 244-35 with 133 Democrats voting “present.” Why did those 135 Democrats vote “present instead of “no?” They did not want to face conservative voters in those Red states during campaigning for the mid-terms having voted to abolish ICE.

NFL National Anthem Protests

Are these protests at NFL games actually political in messaging? Absolutely! AND THEY ARE FAILING. Think about it: what really is the message these players are sending to their massive television audience when they kneel in protest? Do you know what they are protesting?

When former 49-er Quarterback Colin Kapernick started the protests, he stated his cause was to focus Americans’ attention on the travesties perpetrated by white police against African Americans — that primarily result in deaths. However, the facts do not bear out that shootings of black males by white cops is disproportionate. In fact, a Harvard University study last year showed that a white cop is 18.5 times more likely to be shot by a black man than a black man is to be shot by a white cop.

Still the NFL National Anthem protests (they say) will go on in the 2018 season — this as NFL television ratings fell 15% over the two seasons encompassing those protests, game attendance has dropped as has NFL team merchandise sales.

It’s about horrible messaging! One would think with the HUGE national platform that NFL players have, with the tens of millions of dollars at their disposal, and a union flooded with money, those concerned NFL players could during the off-season present at venues all around the nation spectacular events to shine a light of truth on many legitimate concerns of black Americans, IF the reason for these protests as expressed are real. Many Americans summarily reject the stated reasons and are angry at NFL players for choosing to conduct their protests during the National Anthem. To most Americans their doing so shows massive disrespect for current members of the U.S. Military and those who have died in past wars while fighting to preserve what (in their minds) is represented by the National Anthem.

How could the NFL with all of its considerable financial and media resources allow this disinformation campaign to continue? Obviously no one on Park Avenue has taken the messaging issue at heart and led the charge for its modification.

Summary

There’s an old saying in Communication: “It doesn’t matter WHAT you say. It’s HOW you say it.” That pretty much describes exactly what messaging is all about. Today’s Democrat Party politicians have lost the differentiation between “political policy” and “political messaging.” Heck, the Democrat Party itself is upside-down on messaging! Have you heard their new “message” for candidates to use during their mid-term campaigns? “For The People.” Can you honestly say you understand exactly what the Dem message is being transmitted to voters in that: “The Democrat Party is For The People.”

Isn’t everyone in government “For The People?”

Don’t think for a moment the Left does not have a message for American voters in the Fall and going forward. It may bubble below the surface of headline news with barely an occasional mention, but it’s there: Identity Politics. The identification of classifications of Americans by Leftists has become by default the message of the Democrat Party. Proof has never been more obvious than in Hillary’s portrayal of “most” Trump supporters being deplorables.

Democrats often unspoken message to voters is their consuming disdain for conservatives, conservative policies, and any OTHER person who does not wholeheartedly embrace the liberal philosophies of abortion, gun control, same-sex marriage, LGBTQ rights at the expense of others, open borders, and bigger government with higher taxes on the rich.

That’s messaging that didn’t work for Democrats in 2016 and I don’t think it will work this year or in 2020.

I hope they keep right on snoozing without realizing their messaging is actually working: it’s continually turning more and more Americans away.

Heard of the #WalkAway movement? Democrats don’t think it’s a lasting movement.

We’ll see in a couple of months!

NOTE: At TNN we are contemplating beginning a Monday thru Friday “LIVE” internet talk show, complete with live telephone call-in listener interaction. Requests for such a show keep growing. “If” we go in that direction, it will most likely be a two-hour live AND recorded for later downloading like the current podcast. Choosing a time for live airing is critical. We do NOT want to go head-up with any of the loved national conservative live radio shows like “Rush Limbaugh” and/or “Sean Hannity.” Those two are pillars of conservative talk radio, are the best in the business, and their shows are iconic. We are thinking about a two-hour window from 9:00 AM Central to 11:00 AM Monday through Friday.

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We put this NOTE on yesterday’s Written and Podcast version of this post and heard from quite a few. We really want to hear from ALL of you! Please pass this to friends who know about us, ask them to join you in emailing us at dan@dnewman.org or dan@truthnewsnet.org ASAP so we can begin preparations to make changes or continue to move forward as we are today. THIS IS YOUR SITE! Your wishes and desires drive this ship. Let us know how you feel. Early next week we’ll share the results of viewer/listener comments and how we go from here.

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