Winning Message No. 2: Positivity

Second in a series on “The 7 Winning Messages of Democratic Politicians”

Americans are optimists by nature, and the human spirit is ever hopeful. Americans expect the same from our leaders. We want to elect politicians who give us hope for a bright future. The best political communicators in the television era—presidents Reagan, Clinton, and Obama—understood this. They ran campaigns that were relentlessly positive about America. They never wavered from their hopeful outlooks on our country (though they were very different outlooks, to be sure).

Successful politicians should follow their lead. The message of Democrats and liberals must always be upbeat: America is strong and doing well, and our future is bright.

Democratic politicians must broadcast that message endlessly—and give evidence and statistics to prove their point. At the moment, fortunately, that is easy to do. Here is some of the good news Democrats should be trumpeting:

At the same time, Democratic politicians have to call out Republicans for their never-ending negativity. They must cast conservatives as fearful of progress, afraid of new ideas, and pessimistic about America and America’s future. Democrats must be unceasing in their confidence that America can take on new ideas and challenges, and can conquer them. They must emphasize that Democrats alone are the party of progress, the only leaders capable of taking our nation into the future.

Of course, Democratic candidates can’t pretend that America doesn’t have challenges. But the message is that America has always had challenges, in every decade of its existence. But as Americans we have never been afraid of challenges, and more than any other nation on earth we are in the best position to meet them. Our challenges today are nothing like the ones we’ve faced even in recent decades: two World Wars, the Korean War, Vietnam, runaway inflation in the ’70s, the Cold War and the threat of nuclear annihilation, the Great Recession, and the Great Depression. Though our current issues are serious, they are no worse—and in fact are much less worse—than those we have conquered in the past.

If Americans listen to Republicans and Fox News, they will think the sky is falling. It isn’t. Conservatives whine that America is falling apart. Donald Trump says what’s happening to our country is “disgraceful.” That isn’t true, and it doesn’t represent the American spirit. America is still the greatest, richest, freest, most powerful nation on earth—the world’s only remaining superpower—and it will be for the foreseeable future.

It is Democrats—and only Democrats—who have proven that they can take us into that future. It is Democrats who have made America freer and fairer, for more people, in the last hundred years. Democrats have given America Social Security, Medicare, women’s rights, civil rights, a higher minimum wage, and health care. Democrats have driven progress in America. Unlike conservatives, who long for the supposedly better days of the past, Democrats face the future with optimism that we can make an even better world, and that our best days are still ahead.

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