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Framing and the Best Story Can Help Win Back Our Rights

Over the past several years, #DSOT has been highlighting policy after policy supported by a super-majority of Americans, suggesting we are, in fact far less divided than is often believed. Yet simultaneously, each election cycle there is often little accountability for politicians who have betrayed their constituencies. There are many explanations for this troubling phenomenon, which we’ve discussed previously, from disengaged voters, to corrupt politicians. Today, however, we’d like to direct your focus towards another critical component: marketing, or who has the best story? It's no secret that Republicans have been more skilled than Democrats in shaping the political narrative for decades, from climate change, to immigration, and healthcare and beyond, Democrats constantly seem on the defensive, despite ostensibly supporting the more popular policy in each case. This year, however, with SCOTUS’s Dobbs v Jackson ruling overturning Roe, a topic normally considered a pillar of the Republican party platform, is suddenly motivating the Democratic base instead. Yet despite the apparent backlash towards Republicans, polling suggests that it’s been blunted by Republican’s controlling the narrative, rather than Democrats. A perfect example comes from last week in Arizona, where Judge Kellie Johnson ruled because of the Dobbs decision, that an 1864 law banning abortions, could be reinstated. The ruling, praised by the Republican Attorney General who filed the motion, effectively banned abortions in the entire state of Arizona overnight. This was, of course, unpopular, as most Arizonians don’t want their rights stripped away. What is eye-opening, however, is just how large the swings in disapproval could be, depending on how the issue was framed: Arizonians Opinion of Roe v. Wade Being Overturned Support Overturning Roe: 33% Oppose Overturning Roe: 52% Should Abortion be legal in: Some Cases: 89% All Cases: 42% Support for Reinstating 1864 Law: Reinstate: 28% Oppose: 52% Agree or Disagree, each of us should have the freedom to decide how and when we start or grow a family, free from political interference. Agree: 90% Disagree: 7% Agree or disagree, medical professionals should never be threatened with fines or jail time for providing health services their patients request.” Agree: 80% Democrats, 97% Independents, 83% Republicans 64% These results show up to an astonishing 40% increase in support for reproductive rights with the proper framing. By focusing on the government over-reach of Republican politicians getting in-between you and your doctor, instead of focusing on red-herrings, like late-term abortions, Democrats can turn a winning issue, into a landslide. This is especially true in Arizona, now that the 1864 law has been reinstated, with 59% of voters saying they’d be more likely to vote for someone who would overturn the law! So, as we barrel towards the upcoming elections throughout the nation, we must remember that what story we tell about topics is often as important as the issues themselves. We must stop falling for, and engaging with the narratives that corrupt politicians spin, which obscure their wrong-doing, and tell us change is hopeless. Instead, we need to insert our own stories and framing that highlight how united we are in the struggle for freedom, how small our opposition really is, and how attainable a representative government is if we bring our efforts together. So, join us each Tuesday, in growing solidarity, as we write the story of the United People’s Movement, and the reclaiming of American democracy and our rights! #DSOT #UPM

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