Should Democrats talk more about their values?
It depends on the values...
I was talking recently to a smart Democratic Party elected official who told me that while Democrats generally prefer to talk about specific issues rather than broad values, most voters care more about values most of the time, and Democrats need to learn to talk about their values to connect with people.
I hear a version of this quite frequently, and I do think the advice contains a half-truth.
Most people do care a lot about values, and there is something quite limiting about presenting yourself as a disembodied policy laundry list. The problem is that while Americans are “operationally liberal” on many (though by no means all) issues, most Americans do not affiliate with the abstract values of the left.
That doesn’t mean the point about values is wrong. But it does mean that talking about the values espoused by college-educated congressional staffers and college-educated journalists and college-educated progressive advocacy organization staffers is probably counterproductive. To con…
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Slow Boring to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.