Framing the Issues: Seize the narrative, garner the vote.
Candidates for public office today have an opportunity to lead their constituencies by framing issues that are relevant and pressing. For instance, one such important constituency group is the Millennial generation. The Franklin County Young Democrats offer volunteer and voter support, especially for younger candidates. They are the "walk and drop" force that can canvass and do a myriad of other election tasks. The Franklin County Young Democrats have crafted a platform of issues that speaks to their peers. These issues offer candidate an opportunity to practice the art of framing. Candidate can frames the issues to have the most persuasive impact on "get out the vote." Frames are incorporated into stump speeches, informal discussions and campaign literature. The art and skills of framing are acquired through practice. To ensure depth to frames, consider creating a pair, a brief one for the "stump" and a second "structural" frame that unpacks the message. An example of a stump frame: "fair market" verses a "free market" economy. The structural frame states how we can change the current failed economic model to work for the 99%. A 30 second stump frame creates a vision for voters and the structural (discussion) frame tells voters what has to occur to bring the vision into reality.
Examples of Millennial issues with suggested frames.
Issue: Increase civic and community participation.
Frame: Democracy not plutocracy.
- Open the party and assist Millennials in finding their voices, promote leadership development, and solicit their ideas.
- Millennials are advocacy motivated. Pair them with mentors in the community. Accelerate learning and engagement by having mentees tag along with their mentors.
- Create frames that illustrate, by volunteering, Millennials can make a difference. Include them in problem solving and decision making, praise them and engage them.
- Above all, listen to them.
- (see my previous post: Coffee at Noon).
Issue: Provide access to a quality education.
Frame: Education to rebuild a world class society.
- Make vocational and academic education a national investment priority.
- Eliminate the "debtor's class" by erasing the "debt sentence" for student loans. Get the facts: State of Ohio aid to higher education has been reduced from 25% to 7%.) (see YouTube video: Chile Rising; parts 1 and 2.)
- Make education equivalent to national defense and fund it. Question whether it is wise to waste a precious resource and indenture our youth to a lifetime of debt? Maryland votes to add a quarter percent on high income earners to invest in their children's education. Why not here in Ohio? Let's focus on real issues and shared solutions.
- Reframe education as a driver of economic prosperity for the 21st century.
- Support teacher's professional development.
- Advance the use of technology in teaching using teachers as mentors and coaches.
- Respect teachers as professional,
Issue: 21st century jobs.
Frame: A new economic model for a shared prosperity.
- Promote the creation of entrepreneurs and knowledge workers to spearhead the commercialization of innovations.
- Regulate the market to restore a shared economic prosperity: Place a transaction tax on day traders to promote long term and sustained growth.
- Restore the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, ban naked credit default swaps and break up banks that are too big to fail.
- Create a state bank for government deposits and loans to make our tax dollars work for us and not the privateers. ( see: http://publicbankinginstitute.org/home.htm ).
- Promote local currency. see: http://charleseisenstein.wordpress.com/ )
- Require corporations, in exchange for limited liability and market presence, to specify in their charter the benefit to the community.
- Reframe corporate responsibility to include employees and community stakeholders.
- Point to a new capitalism of shared prosperity. (see: http://www.lampindex.com/the-global-lamp-index/ )
- Reform all forms of intellectual property.
- Adopt a use it or lose it for patents to expand competition of ideas and curtail warehousing advancing technologies.
- Point to open source and crowd sourcing as alternatives to reform See:http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/05/2012514204029381972.html)
- Accelerate advanced technologies through public/private investments to reach economies of scale. (See Rocky Mountain Institute's research initiatives @ http://www.rmi.org/).
- Stimulate the economy by redistributing wealth to the middle class in the form of wages.
Issue: Equal opportunity and access.
Frame: Civil liberty and social justice are the hallmarks of democracy.
- Reframe the narrative from incarceration to prevention and rehabilitation.
- 1) Invest in human capital beginning with early childhood education.
- 2) Improve community based resources/programs for at risk youth and families.
- 3) Implement a magisterial, non-judicial intervention system for nonviolent youth and young adult offenders.
- 4) Renounce punishment and develop criminal behavioral prevention/intervention programs.
- 5) Reverse the privatization of prisons and correction facilities that require 90% occupancy rate.
- 6) Conduct outcome studies for diversion, intervention and rehabilitation programs.
- 8) Remove the stigma encountered by the use of "felon" or ex-con.
- 9) Reduce recidivism through job training and placement. (See: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-social-justice.htm and(See: http://www.yeslab.org/ )
Issue: Promote safe communities.
Frame: Improving safety and a shared quality of life.
- Adopt Crime Free Apartment Initiative citywide.
- Expand good neighbor agreements and mediation services.
- Promote youth leadership programs.
- Energize public/corporate partnerships for community restoration projects.
- Incentivize visible community projects and other initiatives.
Issue: Adopt smart environmental regulations.
Frame: Build a sustainable economy while preserving the environment.
- Do both not either/or. Focus on studies that advance both sustainability and environment.
- Solicit green advocacy groups for framing ideas.
- Ask government/universities for cost benefit analysis for new and questionable. regulations.
- Involve public in discussion of new regulations to limit undue lobbying of commissioners. For additional framing ideas: (visit Rocky Mountain Institute @ http://www.rmi.org/ )
Framing helps yours constituents articulate their values with impact statements. Liberals have been framed and tagged as tax and spend, soft on defense and the party that cuts and runs. The Millennial generation must change the prevailing narrative to reflect progressive values that work for all and not just the 1%. Millennials must seize the narrative by reframing the issues. Debt and deficit are the results of an unregulated market system that emboldens casino gambling with taxpayer's money. The way out of debt and deficit has proven to be via a strong middle class. A strong middle class is possible when wealth is equitably distributed. Similarly, our strength as a nation lies in our democracy, our civil liberties and our respect for others. Defense of our nation does not rest on a readiness to engage in military adventurism. Our Strength lies in an educated middle class. With each frame, repeat, repeat, and repeat until it becomes the prevailing belief system. Who knows, your frame may go viral and be picked up by the 99%. That would be a winner for all progressives and for the country as a whole.