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Marketing and communications expert Kevin Gentry pointed out a key element often missing in political communications. Whether you are running for public office, writing a letter to the editor, or just talking with your neighbors and social media friends, keep this in mind during this critical election year.

“Is it emotional? Is it aimed at the heart, or is it a recitation of facts?”


Kevin’s point is huge. So many times, conservatives just recite facts, often in a sterile manner. It sounds logical. We instinctively want to say, "terrible things are happening to our country and we must stop them." So why doesn't our message resonate better? Why don’t we win more national and local elections, and why don’t your liberal friends see the light? After all, we gave them all the facts.


Listen to the left, and especially President Joe Biden's speeches—he's always been good at packing emotions into his speeches, and he sounds like he cares. It's all about FEELINGS. Caring. Sympathy. Compassion for you, the mom, the student, the retiree. Anger & outrage directed at conservatives. Emotions.


You get the idea. But that's one reason why Biden won. And virtually all of the left’s messaging and media reports appeal more to emotions than facts. Here’s a visual example: Remember the Biden rallies where people were seated far apart in bizarre painted circles? To us it was laughable, but not to millions of voters of all parties who were terrified of catching the Wuhan Chinese virus (Covid). They saw caution and compassion in those photos. He appeared to care.

Another important example was when Barack Obama ran for president in 2008. Remember his slogan? "Hope and change." Sounds superficial, right? Not to millions of people who wanted a bit of hope for the future. And 'Bush fatigue' was a thing. People were in a mood for change (without understanding why electing a leftist Democrat would be the change they actually wanted), and that resonated with many voters. That vision was powerful enough that voters didn't notice when Obama promised that energy prices would "necessarily skyrocket."

In 2016, Hillary Clinton was the emotionless and long-winded reciter of facts and figures, while President Trump gave concise, punchy and emotional bullet-points. He won, and his punchy sound bites were repeated by the media—breaking through a wall of media censorship. Trump was “the great communicator” in that race.


But in 2020, the equation was a little different. The times they let Joe Biden out of his basement, he did what did for decades. He talked emotionally and simply. He tugged at the heart. He was ‘lunch bucket Joe’ with passionate stories of being a man of the people from humble roots. His words may have been lies and embellishments, but by contrast, he came across as a bit more caring than Trump, especially with a Covid-terrorized electorate.

This year, it’s flipped again. The ‘angry old man’ we now see in Biden’s speeches comes across as bitter and accusative. Hardly someone that inspires empathy, which allows President Trump to more easily remind voters of how things were so much better during his presidency, and how he can indeed make America great again.

“The great communicator” was a nickname earned by Ronald Reagan long before he ran for president. Reagan beat Jimmy Carter not just on the effects of his disastrous administration, but also because he talked with far greater warmth and charm than Carter. Perhaps Carter’s relatively dry recitation of facts was the inspiration for Hillary’s dry recitations of facts.

In the 1980 debate, Carter was droning on about healthcare and instead of refuting Carter's claims, Reagan just smiled and said, “There you go again.” Nobody could help but laugh at Carter. Reagan related to the hearts and lives of Americans perhaps most effectively with his famous comment: “are you better off than you were four years ago?” 

Trump and all Republican candidates should use this line today. It communicates better than a thousand statistics.  


Bill Clinton is another example to learn from. He said “I feel your pain,” and sounded like he meant it. He could well a tear and look pained as expertly as a Hollywood actor. Voters believed he cared about them; their lives; their jobs. And that compassionate image kept his ratings high even after being impeached.


All candidates at every level should keep this principle in mind.


But this isn’t only what candidates and conservative leaders should be doing. Your influence in your community can be enhanced by writing and talking with more emotion, and not just listing facts and figures.


For example, show the struggles of taxpayers when talking about a local tax hike. What’s it mean to working families? Are the police and courts letting criminals and go free to strike again?


Paint those pictures: Are single moms afraid to let their daughters walk to the bus stop or corner store? Do you feel hunted when walking to your car or out shopping? Are you afraid to let your kids roam their neighborhood like you could when you grew up? Do you know a victim of crime? Do you feel your right to vote is endangered by illegals voting? Are illegals consuming your taxes and increasing crime in your town? How does that feel to you as a taxpayer or your fears of crime?


Tell those personal stories when advocating for law and order, tax cuts, restoring voter integrity, and all the other issues that affect your life.


These tips will help make your social media posts resonate a little better, help you talk a little more convincingly to friends and strangers alike on political issues, and should you call a talk show or speak at a school board meeting, you’ll be a little more effective.

Updated: Apr 8

My name is Melissa Ortiz, and I am the new government affairs manager for TCC. I discovered my love of all things Congressional during my 7th grade field trip to DC many years ago. At one point my goal was to be the first female US Senator from the great state of Tennessee. I'm proud to say that one of my mentors, Marsha Blackburn, beat me to it. That's probably a good thing, too, as she is nicer than I am and in working on the Hill and in other related fields through the years, I learned that what I really wanted to do was influence policy and how it is made rather than be the one passing the legislation. Government Affairs and grassroots organization/mobilization are my sweet spots. This position allows me to combine both. 


Since coming on board March 1st, I have been working towards meeting the Chief of Staff and/or Legislative Directors from all the 267 GOP offices on Capitol Hill. It's easier said than done, but I am making steady progress. Sometimes I feel like I know more Members than I do staffers. 


This is a perilous time for our Republic. Nowhere is it more evident than on Capitol Hill. Tension is thick and comradery is almost nonexistent. We are spending money we do not have and wading into conflicts that are not our own. We are enabling people to live in government dependence rather than learning to be self-sufficient. We are allowing the idea that we should have things just because we exist and not work for what we need or want to be the guiding principle. It is no longer seen as shameful to be dependent on the government rather than working. 


Several pieces of legislation are making their way through the channels that continue these bad trends. Things that should be provided by the private sector have been presented for funding. Legislation and guiding parameters that honor feelings above logic are the norm rather than the disdained exception. Reagan’s idea of finding the 20% we CAN work together on, even in our own party, seems to be sitting on the shelf gathering dust. The Constitution is being trampled at every turn. Because it is no longer taught in public schools, it is not understood by most citizens. Private schools aren’t doing much better. We have an opportunity to unite like minded legislators, educate and influence their staff and rally the citizens of each congressional district and state to demand that their legislators do better or be unseated. 


TCC’s role on the Hill will be to let the elected officials know the citizenry is watching. In the district, TCC will be raising up a grassroots army to hold their elected officials accountable and be ready to replace them when needed. Besides making sure that they know TCC exists, is making a comeback and what our core beliefs/mission are, part of my role is to figure out who is high on the TCC scorecard of holding to Constitution values and support their initiatives. It is also my role to work with our President, Jim Pfaff, to partner with like-minded organizations to support good policy and those who make it, while causes and ruckus of awareness when those elected are not doing their job, which is to represent the will of the people. 


The view is disheartening to the faint of heart, but not to me. Not to Team TCC.

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