[Discussion] Framing Political Discussions

This is a thread to discuss the *practical* application of Lakoff's theory of psychological frames to discussions we have here and with our friends and families, for letters to the editor, and so forth. My aim with this is to empower liberals here with new tools of discussion to use when engaging people on political, moral and social topics. This is a place where useful framings can be discussed and shared. It should also be a place to safely discuss the actual practicalities of building and using framed language for specific topics, or in general.

To start things off, I note Lakoff's recent interview on the topic, as well as the post-mortem he wrote of the election, both of course from the liberal perspective. He argues that conservatives have been much more successful with this type of messaging and encourages liberals to learn and adopt it as conservative thought leaders have already done. That is the point of this discussion. The articles are more easily digested in the order given above.

He frames Trump in several ways; as "The Loser President" or "The Minority President", to remind people that he is actually not representing the majority in the country; as The Betrayer, a leader who has consistently supported one of our long-term rivals, Russia; and as Corrupt, someone who is placing his family members and his business in a position to make a lot of money from his leadership of the government.

Anyone had any luck with these or similar frames on social media, or in conversation? Have you observed conservatives framing discussions in such a way as to appeal to liberals? Is there actually any way to make Trump appealing to liberals? Or is framing mostly used by one side to reinforce its message to its own supporters?

Anyway, not sure where this will go, but let's see what we can come up with. We need to level the playing field.

When I saw your post I was reminded of the Buddhist parable about the burning house. In that a father lies to his kids about great treasures they can have outside in order to get them to leave a burning house. The idea being that lying to them was ok if it got them out of the house!

I am not sure that framing trump in those negative ways is ....good... but I do think it can be a reasonable choice to prevent the kind of harm it seems he could cause.

Lakoff wrote:

The basic lesson comes from a legendary story in framing circles. Lesley Stahl interviewed Ronald Reagan, bringing up stinging criticisms of Reagan. The morning after the interview ran on tv Reagan’s chief of staff called Stahl and thanked her for the interview. “But I was criticizing him,” Stahl replied. The response was jovial, “But if you turned off the sound, he looked terrific. The presidential image is what will be remembered.”

This is exactly what my step-father (libertarian leaning) said about the VP debate. It didn't matter what Tim Kaine was saying, he looked like an idiot and Mike Pence looked Presidential.

Hell, I'm not sure Tim Kaine's grilling of Betsy DeVos will have the same effect the left may want. They're sure fired up about her now though. Will it go anywhere?

Other than using Trump's real name (Trumplethinskin), we can create a positive message around the public good and invent terms to reframe the actions of conservatives. I think of people like DeVos as "school separatists," because they want to shear off a huge amount of taxpayer money to create private institutions that ordinary folks can't afford.

It's important to stress that this "new" movement has "Faith in America," its ideals, aspirations and highest values of live-and-let-live inclusion. Government has a covenant with its people to allow everyone to help their neighbor, even if they don't know them. It provides rules for those who want to sprint out ahead of the pack, making sure they're doing no harm, and puts people who have fallen back on their feet.

Allmericans vs Somericans.

I like this.