We’re just under 60 days away from the 2022 midterm elections and MAGA Republicans are working harder than ever to undermine voters’ ability to vote them out of office and tilt election results in their own favor.
More than half of Americans will have an election denier on the ballot this November, including people running for positions that oversee our elections — all while county officials are already refusing to certify election results. State legislatures have passed dozens of laws that not only make it harder to vote but also, would allow partisan legislators to interfere with how elections are run. Extreme politicians are openly embracing political violence and threats to both voters and officials who disagree with them.
This is no coincidence — these are the same politicians who are behind an all-out attack on our freedoms to choose to have an abortion, love whom we love, and live safe from gun violence and climate disasters. By taking away the right to vote, they’re working to cement a radical agenda and impose it on the majority of us.
That’s why free and fair elections matter, and it’s no hyperbole to say that if the MAGA movement wins this November, we could witness the beginning of the end of our democracy — and therefore the full-on dismantling of our rights.
So what can we do from a messaging and communications perspective to fight back?
- Avoid general language on “threats to democracy” and specifically call out MAGA Republicans. A recent NBC News poll showed “threats to democracy” topping the list of issues concerning voters, but we can’t forget that what voters see as the origin of the threat varies widely — and the right has its own powerful narrative about “socialist Democrats” being responsible.
- Calls for Americans to “vote” are insufficient if not inextricably linked to the very freedoms under attack. We know broad swaths of the Democratic base have been deflated by a year of setbacks for Biden and Democrats in Congress — and activists rightfully felt that calls to show up to the polls (something they’ve already done to usher in a Democratic trifecta) were missing the urgency of the moment. We must connect the right to vote to salient issues like abortion — and point out that all our freedoms start at the ballot box and free and fair elections.
- Paint as vivid a picture as possible of what a post-democracy America will look like. Attacks on the Affordable Care Act and the Dobbs decision have shown that voters will fight back when they are stripped of rights and benefits they had long enjoyed. And while it’s much harder to trigger such an emotional backlash before voters actually experience the loss of such rights, we still must give it our all and use everyday stories, simple but urgent language, and trusted community messengers to make such threats resonate now.
Fenton is deep in the trenches with both the defenders of voting rights and democracy and those who fight for abortion rights, gun safety, LGBTQIA equality, and climate action. Every day we help our clients articulate intersectional messages, foster partnerships between them, and reach voters in ways that demonstrably make a difference.
We’re going all out this cycle and will fight alongside partners to ensure democracy — and our collective freedoms — prevail on November 8.
For more information and to get in contact with us on our voting rights and democracy related offerings head to https://fenton.com/elections-advocacy/.