Words are more powerful than many people realize. Yes, we obviously communicate largely with our words, but the choice of our words is what makes a message effective or ineffective.
The political left has come to be an expert in the art of controlling the narrative. This is one of the major reasons for small government folks losing arguments. Not because their policy is wrong, but because they cannot effectively communicate their message.
The left uses buzzwords like “Progress,” “Forward,” “Change,” and “Gun Sense” that seem to trigger something in our brains. These words send subconscious positive signals to us. Unless one knows that actual policies behind those words, such rhetoric sways people to vote for the big government people.
On the other hand, the small government folks have the policies that work: low taxes, limited regulation, constitutional rights, etc. But there are not many buzzwords that these people use to gain the attention of the electorate.
This is one of the primary reasons for the relative failure of the political Right to reach out to millennials. Buzzwords seem to strike areas that stick with millennials, as the many cliché terms demonstrate.
The Left has effectively controlled the narrative for decades, forcing the Right into a defensive position. For example, almost everywhere in the world the word “liberal” means one who likes ideas of freedom, limited government, and individual rights. Yet here in America, the opposite is true. Conservatives are the ones who desire such things, and the liberals want the nanny state.
Solution? Start rebranding the political Right.
Using words that typically describe the American Left could be a way to force the Left into defense, thus switching ideological positions.
To those running for local, state, and national office, call yourself a Progressive! Then, when people question what this means, bring in the policies that work to create real progress (jobs, wealth, freedom).
Give a message of “Hope!” Offer your constituents a message of hope, namely in the form of bringing back jobs and opportunity. Hope does not come from the government; in fact, it seems more often than not that government takes hope away.
Tell your constituents that real “Gun Sense” comes in the form of having responsible citizens arming themselves! Preventing law abiding citizens from bearing arms for self-defense gives us places like New York, Chicago, and Detroit.
Giving this message of empowering people will win people over to the Right. Hope and progress comes through private individuals making voluntary choices to better their lives and those around them. This is a lesson that the GOP will have to learn if they want to start winning big in elections again.
One person who recently did this is Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. In an advertisement, bits and pieces from his CPAC speech were strung together. Many of the things he stated were strong words that catch people’s attention. To top it off, in the attempt to repeal Obamacare, he said “Yes we can” (sound familiar?). Watch the advertisement below.
Put the Left on the defensive; force them to use different words. If you control the narrative, you win the argument. Humanize stories as well. Interview people, and use their stories in campaign ads about how Left wing policies hurt people. Play the heartstrings of constituents.
Most importantly is to take the moral high ground. Do not sound self-righteous, but demonstrate that small government policy is the way to progress (catch that?).
By controlling the narrative through words, the Left will be forced to find another campaign strategy. Of course there will always be people that vote for the Left because they genuinely believe it. But for those who are on the fence, using words that peak interest, create subconscious inclination, and promote positive thinking will greatly help bring back small government candidates who will empower the people rather than stifle them.