PR Against Sanders Seems to Be in Action
Here is how to stop it.
First the good news, the Sanders campaign has all the momentum so far and it keeps building steam. It is clear that a large majority of Americans are with Sanders on the issues. So why isn’t he gaining more ground on Hillary in polls? Well the answer could be there is a sneaky PR/marketing move being made to defeat Sanders and it seems to be in full swing.
Bernie Sanders is one of the most progressive members of the United States Senate. He is the founding member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He wrote an article for the Huffington Post titled, “Fight for Our Progressive Vision,” on 12/24/2004. So why is it that the media can’t stop bring up the fact that Bernie has called himself a Democratic Socialist in the past? And then you see socialist and Sanders in practically every article that you read.
I’ll tell you why, regardless of the merits of democratic socialism vs capitalism the fact remains socialism invokes a very negative frame in far too many American’s brains. What they are doing in a way is marketing Sanders as a socialist because far too many American’s will not vote for him when he is considered a socialist because it invokes that negative frame. However progressive invokes a positive frame and associating Sanders as a progressive improves his chances to win dramatically.
Think of it this way. They have those new bottles of coke that have different names on them (John, Lisa, Mike, etc.) Now imagine you have a shelf with half the coke bottles labeled progressive and the other half socialist. Which bottle do you think the majority of people would pick in the United States of America? Now we aren’t changing the item, they are all still just bottles of coke. With the label progressive it is much easier for the average American to grab the coke. However, with socialist it isn’t as easy. Why? Because socialist invokes a negative frame for a majority of Americans. That’s a very good reason for Sander’s opposition to want to drill Sanders is a socialist in everyone’s brain in 2016. So if you see Sanders and socialist often in the media, do not be suprised.
Here is a quote from Sanders talking about polls, notice the word he uses to describe the agenda he is fighting for, “By and large, poll after poll shows that the American people support a progressive agenda that addresses income and wealth inequality, that creates the millions of jobs we desperately need, that raises the minimum wage, that ends pay discrimination against women, and that makes sure all Americans can get the quality education they need.” Notice he didn’t use Democratic Socialist agenda. The reason could be he knows something about framing and when you have socialist in the phrase your invoking that negative frame I’ve been mentioning.
So if you want to see Sanders do well in the polls and win the election. It is probably a very good idea to make sure Sanders is repeatedly called a progressive politician and not a democratic socialist on social media and in the media. Sharing articles and interviews that have Sanders called a democratic socialist or a flat out socialist are probably not going to help his poll numbers.
For more information on how this all goes down please check out George Lakoff: Moral Politics
For full disclosure I’m not with the Sanders campaign or any Super PAC supporting his campaign.