I’m pleased to see “values” popping up repeatedly in this year’s election cycle
. Because the fact is that most Americans vote based on values and identity, n
ot on specific issues.
A while back, I saw a presentation by public opnion researcher John Russonello,
who who has advised many progressive organizations on messaging and framing.
Russonello makes a powerful argument about how progressives have failed to unde
rstand and center their arguments in core American values.
Russonello lists only a few core values, and divides them into two tiers.
* individual responsibility
* family security
* responsibility to help others
* personal fulfillment
* respect for authority
* love of country
Russonello argues that if you tie your issues and arguments only to second tier
values, you are in danger of being trumped by an opponent who can tie his argu
ment to first tier values.