Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Being "radical" and talking to voters in a way that appeals to them

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Mark Pack wrote an illuminating post at the start of this year:
Particularly in the aftermath of a general election, you hear lots of Liberal Democrats saying that the party needs to more radical or more distinctive. Or, as this views are often played out on the internet these days, MORE RADICAL!!! 
The problem is what often comes next: the favourite policy idea of the person making this call. 
Now Rob Parsons has asked whether we should try to be radical at all. Or rather, whether we should present ourselves to votes as being radical:
I find the word “radical” increasingly difficult nowadays. It has become a shibboleth. Whatever is being pitched has to be framed as radical. And everybody knows exactly what it means and says so with great authority. The trouble is that the next person will, with equally great authority, give it a different meaning.
Rob would rather we presented our polices to voters as being "common sense".

He is on to something in that I suspect being radical appeals to activists more than it does to the average voter.

But, reading him, I thought of a post of my own that was picked up by Wired:
Jonathan Calder on his politics blog, observed that LGBT groups in America won over voters by discussing their quest for equality not in aggressive demands for equal rights, but with language conservatives would refer to their own marriages: love, commitment and family. 
Similarly, a press release from The Association for Psychological Science found that talking about climate change in terms of 'purity' and 'sanctity' of Earth could win over those with conservative morals, traditionally unconcerned with climate change.
To win people over with this approach you have first to be clear about who it is you are trying to win over.

And there has lain the Liberal Democrats' problem for many years.

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