Feb 24·edited Feb 25Liked by Antonia Scatton

"I will need your help to meet this challenge. Please reach out to me if you have any interest in helping me find the right language, educating me about the issues, sharing your research, or just brainstorming.” Antonia

Hello Antonia,

Here is some brainstorming from a retired psychologist and former marketing writer.

One difficulty we are facing here is the repetition of MAGA messaging over MAGA dominated media. Many voters who are tuned out and identify themselves as “independent“ do not really fit that label. Such independents may more accurately be described as easily hypnotized.

I wonder if there are alternative strategies for inoculating people against the compulsion that is activated by feeding the frame?

And before we get too alarmed about the vulnerability of uncommitted voters, there are many who are already committed to Democratic values. These include especially young people who care about specific issues, such as climate change, difficulty affording housing and school. Their connection to such issues is a frame. Many such voters are best reached by their peers in personal conversations.

An increasing number of people who subscribe to main stream media are writing comments and letters to the editor to hold them accountable for reinforcing framing and repeating fears that can demotivate Democratic voters. I have done so and have seen the influence start to take hold. Some opinion writers in those media are aware of the threat. We can quote their columns to amplify their voices.

A growing army of activists across the country are building a powerful ground game to reach uninformed, first-time and infrequent voters. The evolving strategy is to have multiple contacts and prime them to be ready to vote when the time comes. A similar approach is to contact neighbors who are identified as infrequent or uncommitted voters and to start having conversations with them now. We can also reach people nationally via post card and letter writing campaigns. This would be a kind of inoculation against the framing influence that you describe.

Also, there is the Words that W!n messaging strategy of a truth sandwich. You start with stating a shared value. Then you identify a villain generically. You complete that message with a vision. This kind of message is repeated in advertising, letters to the editor and social media.

Another way to accomplish the reinforcement of our own frame is to put Biden/Harris bumper stickers on our cars and similarly to add bumper stickers for local candidates to build name recognition.

And, we can post in all media about blue values. A really good place to start is the wonderful speech by Hakeem Jeffries when he accepted the position of Minority Leader of the House. If you look it up you will find that he went through the entire alphabet, contrasting Democratic with Republican values. Highlight the Democratic ones, many of them brief enough for bumper stickers and signs.

Let’s get to work. Together we will win this fight!

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Mar 5·edited Mar 5Liked by Antonia Scatton

Caution: a truth sandwich should not be our go-to form of messaging, because it is difficult to not repeat the lie. Lakoff himself says "Avoid amplifying the specific language if possible." It is very often not possible. Think of a truth sandwich inside a red box and behind glass -only use it when you really have to.

Republican strategists spread lies like a fishing boat spreads chum (and we take the bait far too often). They don't actually care if they win the rhetorical argument; the point is to keep Democrats busy debunking and repeating Republican absurdities so we are not spending time on our messages. Remember, you are under absolutely no obligation to suspend a steady stream of truthful and well framed messaging to respond to, debunk, analyze, retweet, or fret over Republican strategists' lies (that's, apparently, what MSNBC is for).

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Feb 27·edited Feb 27Liked by Antonia Scatton

All of us reading this post and finding value it can do several things --

Foremost of which is pledge in our OWN online lives and discussions to NOT talk about DJT or refute/negate/make fun of or point out the hypocrisy of what he says or what the MAGA Repubs say.

What they say doesn't matter -- so we must stop amplifying. Instead, let's talk about what WE stand for, what we value, what inspires us.

But that's not to say we don't talk about DJT/MAGAs -- rather we talk about their actions (not their propaganda, lest we spread it). And talk about their actions in terms of the harm it does to us, the listener, Americans and people who share our values writ large.

All of us need to recognize our power and agency as communicators for the values (not policies/wonky jargon) we share.

Lastly, we need to celebrate how much we've won over time and point out that despite the media deluge, Dems and the grassroots activated after 2016 have been winning over and over and over again.

Here's a short write up on just how much we've won (though it's from last year, we've only added even more wins/momentum since this was first shared):


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Feb 26·edited Feb 26

Hello Gary. For those who may be interested in further exploring your thoughts, following is the transcript of Leader Jeffries's speech upon election:


Given your reminder of the occasion, as can happen, I couldn't remember all that Leader Jeffries said though I can tell you how I felt upon hearing him speak the words—deeply moved. More brain science at work, I suspect.

I certainly appreciate your thoughts, so thank you.

And special thanks to you, Antonia, for calling our attention to this subject. I am hardly expert in brain science (an understatement) though given my study of mindfulness meditation, I know there is something profound to be learned. And I'm curious about its application with respect to the preservation of Democracy. I can also say I'd like to follow my curiosity that you have both sparked here.

Antonia, if ever you'd like to hold a zoom "brainstorming" session, or simply offer an exploration session on the subject, I'd be happy to help plan and coordinate via my zoom account.

Though for now, thank you Antonia, and thank you Gary. And as always, gratitude to Jessica Craven for her Chop Wood, Carry Water which brought me here today!

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Feb 24Liked by Antonia Scatton

I have read several of George Lakoff's books and have listened to many of his YouTube videos. I understand frames and work to build some in my group of Democrats. I would be interested in hearing what you have to say.

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I totally agree with this. If hammering Trump's negatives was an effective strategy, he would never have made it out of the 2015 primary let alone be running in the general for the third time. How much more negative can the media or Dems even be? Aren't they maxed out at this point?

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Your statement that '"repeated exposure is also how unfamiliar and even abhorrent ideas become normalized" really resonated with me. I remember observing early on that Trump obviously understood that by repeating lies he would engrave them into people's brains. The man is a master propagandist , even though he's a sad excuse of a human being.

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Feb 23Liked by Antonia Scatton

I struggle mightily with this question for my weekly TikTok My Three Things. Language matters if I can help in any way please do reach out.

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Mar 6Liked by Antonia Scatton

I am trying to be FOR Joe Biden instead of AGAINST that other guy. I am for Biden but what I mean about being FOR him is that I am focusing my energy and efforts to support him and therefore keeping him in the eyes and ears of people. I understand what you are saying about how people will remember and vote for the other guy because his name comes up more frequently than Biden's. When we point out the latest absurd and disturbing thing the other guy ha done we are only drawing attention to him. When we point out what Biden is doing and why we support him we are reinforcing him in peoples' minds (frames).

So glad that Jessica Craven led me to you!

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Mar 4Liked by Antonia Scatton

What I would love to see is a video showing wrong way/right way of how progressives should talk about our values. It's one thing to read about how framing in values is more effective than discussing issues and policy, but it's another to see it in action. Any suggestions?

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Yeah, that would be cool! I wish I had the time to do it!

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Thank you, Jessica. All the commenters seem to understand that Antonia has explained propaganda as well as it can be done. What we experience most often we interpret as true. Rotary 4 way test: 1. Is it the truth? 2. Is it fair to all concerned? 3. Will it build good will and better friendships? 4. Is it fair to all concerned?

The last 3 define the truth for a Rotarian. For a lawyer, the jury verdict defines true. For the cook, the empty plate defines true. For the tailor, the fit defines true. For the builder, the house defines true. For the plumber, the flush defines true. For the electrician, lights on defined true. For the doctor, healing defines true. For the politician, election defines true.

We can try to make the clicks define true for 'press'. NO Votes for FEAR. Biden, Freedom From Fear How we can use the Four Freedoms from WWll?

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Perhaps something to encourage turnout? I think the undecided voter is the unicorn that the media likes to talk about because it sells clicks. But how many voters in the US can there be who truly can’t make up their mind between the 2? It might be far smaller than the infrequent voter who is likely to vote Dem.

Perhaps a frame that will make it more likely for people to vote?

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Right now, somewhere between 15 and 25% of the electorate are "double haters," people who are not supporting either Trump or Biden. These are people we can only win by giving them a positive reason to support Biden.

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A statistically insignificant demographic. The ONLY demographic the Democratic Party should be concerned with is the 40-80 million registered non voters.

That is how a black man became President of the rascist shitshow that is‘Murikkka.

The entire piece is pointless.

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I read an article earlier today interviewing some Nikki Haley voters. They were asked how they would vote in November if the matchup becomes Biden vs Trump as expected. They interviewed 40 voters whom they had identified as not being typical MAGA voters but matched more the profile of moderates. Almost to a person, they said they would be voting for Trump. Their reasoning? Biden is old (!). Every. single. one. of. them. They even admitted they "disliked" Trump, even "hated" him, especially because of the insurrection and his behavior after the 2020 election. But they would be voting for him. Why? Because Biden is OLD! I can't wrap my head around this. How do we counter it?

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Caution: That is contrary to multiple sources I have read, about Haley voters. See Robert Hubbell's Substack the last couple days, for example, and you'll find the opposite information.

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