Wisconsin Voices Summer Convening: Winning the Debate: Using Values Based Messaging to Rebuild & Rebrand the Progressive Movement

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Goals of the Presentation: …

Goals of the Presentation:

- Provide participants with a deeper understanding of the theory behind values based messaging.
- Work through the components of VBM
- Develop effective messages transferable across issue areas
- Create usable messages in a variety of mediums

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  • 1. Summer Convening July 18th, 2013 Winning the Debate: Using Values Based Messaging to Rebuild & Rebrand the Progressive Movement Dustin Beilke, Values Based Messaging Specialist & Jennifer Epps-Addison, J.D., Economic Justice Director for Citizen Action of Wisconsin
  • 2. Workshop Goals ● Provide participants with a deeper understanding of the theory behind values based messaging. ● Work through the components of VBM ● Develop effective messages transferable across issue areas ● Create usable messages in a variety of mediums
  • 3. What is Values Based Messaging?
  • 4. VBM = A Right Wing Tool? The reality is that conservatives have been more effective at utilizing values based messaging to shape the issue climate over the long-term.
  • 5. VBM is a TOOL that can be used by ANYONE
  • 6. Values Based Messaging = Always on the Offensive: If Progressives aren't driving the conversation, we've already lost. If you are playing defense, you're working from a deficit.
  • 7. Conservatives try to reframe the debate around the Affordable Care Act using Values Based Messaging after the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare's constitutionality
  • 8. WIsconsin Values Communication Initiative The Theory Behind Values Based Messaging
  • 9. If We Want To Start Winning We Have To Reform The Progressive Message 1. Progressives wrongly assume most effective persuasion limited to facts & arguments. 2. Argue each issue in a separate silos. 3. Our tactics are based on snapshots of public opinion which do not provide a roadmap of what opinion must be built to support a more just society and a richer democracy
  • 10. Reforming Progressive Message Continued... 4. Persuading from values and beliefs is more much more impactful in short & long term. a. Speaker credibility is the most important element of persuasion--value-based moral appeals increase credibility b. Communicating through progressive values builds up support across issues, and builds public opinion for long term. c. Values-based appeals harder to counter because create their own moral context.
  • 11. Key Takeaway Concepts of Values Communication 1. Builds on existing cultural capital, values built up over generations. 2. Values-based discourse is more effective in short term because creates own context, improves credibility, inoculates against responses 3. Focus on values forces a consideration of what progressives are trying to achieve in the long term. Can be basis for long term strategy and opportunity for greater ALIGNMENT.
  • 12. Humanistic Perspective 1. Over 2,000 years ago Aristotle, one of the leading rationalists in history, argued that both ethos (character) and pathos (emotion) trump logos (reason) in public persuasion. 2. Large body of academic symbolic theory holds that humans perceive reality through narratives (stories large and small). ○ Better than arguments and facts for creating a context for shaping view of reality. ○ Reach the preconscious brain and trigger powerful pre-existing emotional associations. ○ Powerful way to make values claims, including villains, heroes, and dramatic action with clear "morals of the story" with application for interpreting the external world.
  • 13. Strengths & Challenge Values Discourse Strengths 1. Taps into existing historically constructed frameworks which are culturally powerful and shared across society. 2. Creates potential to build up shared values which cross the divides and sectors of the progressive community, creating the potential to align our issue campaigns in a way that builds progressive opinion long term. Values Challenge If not combined with powerful moral emotions and compelling narratives, can produce abstract and flat discourse Solution: Blend values-based approach with deliberate efforts to trigger powerful moral frameworks that already exist in the human brain.
  • 14. Human Moral Foundations Jonathan Haidt (1) Care/Harm (2) Fairness/Cheating (3) Loyalty/Betrayal (4) Authority/Subversion (5) Sanctity/Degradation (6) Liberty/Oppression http://www.moralfoundations.org/index.php?t=questionnaires
  • 15. Best Human Moral Triggers For Progressives (pre-rational) Fairness/Cheating Foundation: Humans are morally outraged when someone gets away with something, when worthy are punished and unworthy unfairly rewarded. Liberty/Oppression Foundation: Humans morally outraged at attacks on liberty. Must trigger that emotion through concrete and compelling language and stories. Source: Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind (2012)
  • 16. Using Moral Triggers - Example Tax Fairness ● The moral emotion of unfairness is the reaction we have against people who take more than their fair share, we are outraged if other people get much more than they deserve. ● Once a moral emotion is triggered, it primes people to receive information that follows ● A long term strategy for building support for public investments in opportunity is to repeatedly trigger the emotion of unfairness of tax system ● Then, systematically use this moral reaction as a bridging strategy to a broader concept of a fair economy and over time remap the people's perceptions and beliefs
  • 17. It's been done before. . . . Huey Long barbecue speech (play first 40 seconds)
  • 18. Emotional Sequence Trigger emotion of fairness/cheating Once triggered with narratives of unfairness that creates an emotional response of moral indignation bridge to values of responsibility, which has policy implications as emotional resolution based on specific communication context, bridge to values of freedom and opportunity to provide further impetus to building support for progressive economic vision.
  • 19. Values That Win! 1. Freedom. --Both positive and negative liberty 2. Responsibility. --to each other and to common good 3. Cooperation. --without cooperation, freedom leads to divided society 4. Opportunity. --Both inequality/discrimination and positive sense of conditions needed for true opportunity (economic, environmental, health, education)
  • 20. Core American Values Freedom: All people should have the freedom to lead fulfilling and stable lives, supported by the basic foundations of economic security and equal opportunity. "True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made." --Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  • 21. Freedom to Achieve the American Dream Workers go on strike for fair pay and the right to form a union @10:07
  • 22. Core American Values Responsibility: Requires we each do our fair share. That means we have the responsibility to improve our lives through hard work, education, and by acting with honesty and integrity. It also means that those of us who have prospered have a responsibility to the community at large to help expand opportunity for others. "We need a spirit of community, a sense that we are all in this together. If we have no sense of community, the American dream will wither." - President Clinton
  • 23. Core American Values Cooperation: Without cooperation, freedom leads to divided society that can't function and can't govern. "The reluctance of so many Republican governors to cooperate with ObamaCare has led to the creation of a system that looks more like the House bill. The federal government will run the exchanges in 25 states and will have primary responsibility, in partnership with states, in seven more." --Richard Kirsch
  • 24. Gender Discrimination
  • 25. Opportunity Opportunity: Embraces the diversity of American society by ensuring all people--not just the rich and powerful--have the opportunity to turn their talents and ambitions into a meaningful life. Everyone who is willing and able to work should be able to find a job that provides fair wages, benefits, and working conditions. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work, when the wages of honest labor will liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal not just in the eyes of God but also in our own. — President Barack Obama
  • 26. Values Message Format 1. Lead and end with core American/Progressive Values 2. Trigger human moral responses and identify a villain 3. Articulate core progressive beliefs about an issue and reinforce them over and over to shape public opinion 4. Use narrative and stories to convey values and beliefs 5. Use clear "separating issues" that communicate who you are (and who progressives are) and define conservatives as not sharing American values.
  • 27. The Affordable Care Act Making healthcare more secure and returning control to consumers 1
  • 28. Before the Affordable Care Act It was legal for health insurance Companies to DENY COVERAGE to kids with cancer and other pre-existing conditions. We must never go back!
  • 29. Denied Pre-existing condition We must move forward! Starting in 2014 It will be illegal for health insurance Companies to DENY COVERAGE or CHARGE HIGHER RATES to all people with pre-existing conditions
  • 30. Freedom: Every American should have the freedom to control their own medical decisions without interference from insurance companies. Access to Health Care is an American Value
  • 31. Access to Health Care is an American Value Opportunity: ●Americans who lack access to stable and affordable health coverage do not have a fair shot at the American dream. They face a constant threat of having their lives and careers devastated by health disasters that also become financial disasters. ● Every American should have the opportunity to change jobs or start a small business without losing health coverage.
  • 32. Use narrative and stories to convey values and beliefs: "I'm a personal care worker; I work at a group home and make $9 an hour taking care of people's health. Even though I work to keep other people healthy, I do not have affordable health care myself. I have not been able to qualify for BadgerCare, in fact I'm just over number 141,000 on the waiting list. I'm a father of three, I want to give my children their chance at the American dream but without health insurance, we're looking at an uncertain future." Terry - Milwaukee
  • 33. Access to Health Care is an American Value Responsibility: ●Everyone should take responsibility for getting health care coverage for themselves and their families so long as it is made affordable and accessible. ●The insurance industry should be able to make reasonable profit but in return should be held accountable by not profiting from abusive practices and discrimination.
  • 34. Use clear "separating issues" that communicate who you are (and who progressives are) and define conservatives as not sharing American values: Starting in 2014 we will live in an America where everyone has the freedom to control their own healthcare decisions no matter what. Conservatives want to take us back to the days when getting sick meant destitution for a family. If you believe in an America where every citizen can get affordable coverage no matter where they choose to work or what gender they are, than join the movement to protect and expand the Affordable Care Act.
  • 35. And that is Values Based Messaging in a Nutshell! Now that folks are experts, let's actually practice what we've learned!