Promoting the Message
What's the Message?
Promoting the Message
Connecting the Message
Issues & the Message
Messengers of Democracy
Threats to Democracy



Rely on the KISS Principle ("keep it short and simple") for all your communications.  You've got just a few seconds to open the door.  Once the door is open, you've got perhaps four minutes to get your point across.  Less is more.



Do NOT use or repeat the radical Republican's language.  Learn to reframe instead.



Reframing is the art of moving the conversation to our own turf instead of defending ourselves from theirs.



Want to mainline your message?  Use a metaphor for your theme.  For more about the world of metaphors and linguistics, stop by the Rockridge Institute, visit The Metaphor Project and crunch a couple of frames down at  Frameworks.  Want to stay put and save time? Check our Issues & the Message pages for suggestions.


"The truth is
the future of our nation
rests in your hands, and
not in mine."

—Governor Howard Dean




Structure is an important aspect to any successful argument.  Try this tried-and-true method of constructing a persuasive argument:  problem/solution.

Quickly explain the problem then offer your position as the solution.  Use the 80-20 Rule with says that 80% of your presentation should explore the positive solution and 20% should set out the negative problem to be solved.


"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin?

In small places, close to home…the factory, farm or office where he works…unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere."

--Eleanor Roosevelt, United Nations remarks, 1953

  Effective Communications

Here is a handy list of "how to's" for communicating our Progressive message.  Learn the tips and tricks of the communications pros to get your communications noticed, passed on and printed.  Before you write, speak or design, refer to our list of Progressive values and principles. 

Here's how to create an effective...

  Letter to the Editor — Keep your letter to no more than 250 words.  Less is more.  Choose a values theme, pick your facts and/or metaphor and remember to repeat your values theme to make a "values sandwich" structure.  KISS principle applies (see sidebar).

  Flyer — A great flyer is the cornerstone of grassroots political communications.  It gets us out into our neighborhoods and helps make our point quickly and inexpensively.  The keys to creating a great flyer include:

Big bold headline that grabs interest. Shoot for no more than 7 words.

State your purpose upfront and write in terms of benefits to the reader. 

Tell people what action you want them to take.  State it early and end with a repeat of the call-to-action.

Use a graphic or three and lots of white space.  You've got seconds to grab attention and seconds for your audience to scan your flyer.  Keep it simple, open and to the point.  KISS principle applies.

  Press Release — Think of a press release as a news-based calling card for your event or product. Hand it out freely. A good press release is a news angle that immediately focuses on the who, what, where, when and how.  Think of building your press release as an inverted pyramid.  Begin with the "w,w,w,w & h" summary first, then add details of lesser importance.  Be sure your contact information is easy to find.  Find a template you like and follow it. It's critical that a press release reflect news, be well organized and well written.

  Public Service Announcement (PSA) — A PSA informs the public of an event or activity that promotes public service and objectives. Check each media outlet for specific guidelines and timelines.  Television, radio and newspaper outlets are required to provide some free time or space for public service announcements.  KISS principle applies.

  Advertisement A good ad captures emotion, solves a problem and motivates the reader to take some action.  The rule is that your audience may need to see your ad at least five times before they are compelled to take action. Put yourself ahead of the game with the knowledge that people buy a feeling and not a product.  Put your heart into it.  Use a bold title and a graphic to reinforce your theme.  KISS principle applies double.

  Viral email — A viral email is a relatively new method of getting the word out.  The purpose is to send an email that is naturally passed on, and on and on...1 becomes 100, then 10,000 to 10,000,000 very quickly.  We're not promoting the use of spam lists, however.  Spam hurts any campaign.  Instead, write your email so that your message is passed on, friend to friend.  Here's how:

Start with a big bold headline that grabs interest. Shoot for no more than 7 words.

Follow with the "w,w,w,w & h" summary right up front. Ask your audience if they want to read more and then proceed with details in their order of importance, from most to least.

Use your values to frame the message.

Be personal. 

State your purpose upfront and write in terms of benefits to the reader. 

Tell people what action you want them to take.  State it early and end with a repeat of the call-to-action.  Make it ultra easy to take that action. 

Paint a picture that's compelling and imaginative. 

Add interactivity but know that few people will follow your links immediately.  People prefer to scan what you've written first. 

KISS principle applies.

  Speech Ah, yes, a speech.  Rumor has it that we're more afraid of public speaking than we are of just about anything.  But there's no need to worry.  With the right structure, a healthy infusion of passion and practice, practice, practice, and you can excel in front of a crowd.  If you are speaking persuasively, shoot for a 7-minute speech with generous time for Q & A.  Try a "problem-solution" construction if you're presenting a persuasive argument.  The KISS principle applies.



  Progressive Values and Principles Revisited

To promote our Progressive message, we all need to start talking in terms of our core values.   These are our core moral values, the ones that guide our conscience and help us prioritize our actions.  Our core values, equality, protection, responsibility, freedom, opportunity, fairness and community are at the heart of all our Democratic policies.

Strength through Community,
Mutual Responsibility, Unity

Opportunity for All,
Broad Prosperity

A Better Future,
Fulfillment in Life

Effective Government,
Fiscal Responsibility,

Safety, Security and Protection

Equal Rights,
Freedom* and Fairness,
Respect and Dignity,

Cooperation, Unity
and Interdependence

Trust* and Honesty

Open Communication

Use these values and principles as themes for your conversations, presentations and written communications.  Give your communications meaning by sandwiching your facts and issues between a repeated value word.  Include the facts and statistics that back up your point, but don’t let facts speak for themselves.  They don’t.  Policies, facts and programs mean little to the average person, but our core values are alive with meaning and motivation.  Use them —liberally.


  Dictionary Definition: "Liberal"

Next time someone calls you a "liberal", remind them who we are and what we stand for.  Help reclaim this much maligned mantle.  We can do it over time with patience and perseverance and good ideas. 

Here's one idea: find ways to circulate this definition of a liberal from the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition:

Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.

Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.


Messengers of Democracy

Where do we get our core moral values? Explore the link "Messengers of Democracy" to read about those who've inspired our values, from Jesus and the Founding Fathers to Roosevelt and Kennedy, we've got an impressive moral compass to follow. 


Interviewing and Media, Skills 101

Here's a great diary over at The Daily Kos that highlights the skills you need when encountering media: Interview Skills 101--Surviving the Fox Hunt.   Too often, we trust our interviewer.  We give him too much information.  The truth is: DON'T DO IT.  They will hang you with your own words.  Instead, deliver a simple message and repeat it.

The media are in the business of sensationalism, delivering an audience to sponsors and fulfilling corporate interests.  Ratings and self-interest are what drives the bus, not balanced reporting or public interest.  Sharpen your interviewing skills and messaging techniques now.  Get ready to play the game to win.



What's your angle?

Newspapers, magazines, e-zines all have one thing in common: they need content.  Are you interested in contributing?  If your answer is "yes!", then here's a handy list of possible angles that the media finds newsworthy.  Use these for writing feature stories, press releases, brochures, flyers and just about any communication.  What's considered "newsworthy" catches interest.

Local: Why is this story important to local residents?

Milestone: Is this story a historical marker?

Personal: Who is the face of the victim in the story? Who has an authentic voice on the issue?

Seasonal: Can this story be attached to a holiday or seasonal event?

Anniversary: Can the story be associated with a local, national or topical historical event?

Breakthrough: What is new or different about the story?

Celebrity: Is there a celebrity (local or national) already involved with or is willing to lend his or her name to the issue?

Controversy: Are there adversaries or other tensions to the story?

Injustice: Are there basic inequalities or unfair circumstances?

Irony: What is ironic, unusual or inconsistent?




  Connect with Grassroots Groups

Progressives know what Democracy should be: People First.  This means strong communities are supported by a responsible and respectful government that we own.  Progressives from every party are uniting to create the largest grassroots movement in modern history.  Be a part of it.  Make history.  You can make a positive difference while you enjoy camaraderie with other concerned, caring individuals.

Join the ranks of regular people fighting to save our democracy.  Sign up for an e-newsletter, catch interesting speakers and keep up on current events.  At our local level, it's empowering and even fun to make a difference. 

Consider joining your local Democracy for America group.  Check out a current list of other grassroots organizations to join and ways to make a difference at Grassroots for America.



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