A New Year’s Resolution is sort of like a constitution. Everybody makes one, adds amendments to it shortly after, and then winds up violating it here and there before long.
But next year needs to be different for progressive folks. Waves made in 2013 need to continue with the tide, and can’t reach the shore in 2014 without a lot help.
So get ready; here are a few suggestions for resolutions that can help progressive issues in the New Year:
Volunteer with a local election
The 2014 midterm election season is packed with races for Congress, statewide seats, and local offices. There’ll be progressive candidates in these contests, too.
But they can’t win if you only offer your vote.
Winning an election isn’t dependent on advertisements and donations alone. It requires active volunteers who make direct personal contact with the public, such as by phone banking and neighborhood canvassing, to improve likelihood of participation on Election Day.
In fact, studies show that effective canvassing alone results in improving voter turnout by 7.1 percent.
Additional turnout is very, very important in 2014, too. While roughly 60 percent of all registered voters turn out in presidential election years, only about 40 percent vote in midterm elections.
Make a resolution to help a progressive candidate win by volunteering for her or his campaign.
Share, share, and share some more
Social media has become the dominant source of news over the last decade.
The American public spends over three hours a day online, in fact, and that average continues to grow, while time spent with TV, radio and print media declines. And since many newspapers now limit online access to paid subscribers, folks are relying more and more on search engines and other sites to find news.
To benefit from this situation, progressive topics need to be available all over the Internet, in multiple instances and in positive light. Make a resolution to spread the progressive word on the Internet as often as possible.
When you come across an article or entry on social media that’s in tune with your liberal attitude, don’t just “like” it, but “Digg” it, too. And Tweet it, Reddit it, Delicious it, Pin it, Care2 it, Stumble Upon it, Google+ it, and Jabberwonk it. Post it on your local Craig’s List, even. (There are oodles of other social networking sites, too.) Sure, spread your message and links to as many applicable Facebook groups as possible, but don’t stop there.
And if you have the time, create your own site or blog, on which you can further expand the reach of progressive news (try it from one of these or other free blog hosts, for example).
Multiple postings of a subject can improve its search engine rankings, too. And the higher the rankings, the more likely it is that web surfers will come across progressive news from searches.
Spreading the word on the Internet is great; doing it correctly, though – ensuring your entries have positive impact in high volumes – is much, much better.
When you post, include an image to improve the impact. Facebook postings with a photo get 53 percent more likes than those that have none, for example, and Tweets that include an image are 150 percent more apt to retweets.
Encourage others to interact, too. Including suggestions such as “share,” or “please retweet,” or “comment” in your postings can produce four times the shares and views. Interact with those interacters, too; positively replying to their comments is a great “thank you” for their support.
Don’t forget to cite your sources, now. Give credit where it’s due.
And it’s important that you be diverse in topics. If education is the subject you favor with personal passion, for example, posting on that one topic alone can gradually decrease interest of your friends and followers on those sites. Yes, chocolate can be your favorite flavor, but you need to think Neapolitan to keep your ice cream bowl full.
Broaden the appeal of progressive issues
Liberals know that their issues and points of view are broad in public benefit. We want good for everybody, right?
To get that good, though, liberals need to expand the reach of these issues to the in-betweens.
Consider the results of a Gallup poll from earlier this year. While 41 percent of Americans declare themselves to be conservative on economic issues, only 17 percent self-identify as liberal on the subject. To get a majority on this issue, then, liberals need to swoon that 37 percent of Americans who say they’re moderate on the subject.
Same goes for social issues, too (although with more wiggle room); 35 percent are conservative and 30 are liberal, while a 32-percent chunk say they’re moderate.
Appeal to moderates doesn’t mean liberal stances have to be changed, though. Simply make the issues broader in appeal.
And one way to do that is by reminding moderate folks how they can personally benefit from those issues.
Take the issue of public school funding, for example. “Who do you want building your car? Or repairing it after you have an accident? Or driving the ambulance to the hospital after that accident? Or providing you with medical care when you arrive at the hospital? You want to be helped by people who received proper education for those roles, right? Improved school funding doesn’t just aid the children; it’s to everyone’s personal benefit that better, fully-funded education is provided.”
Moderates might truly like the flavor of liberal, progressive soda; the design on the bottle’s label might be what’s keeping them away, though. So change the label design and sell your soda to a broader audience.
Don’t waste your time arguing with ultra-conservatives
You can’t beat a dead horse. And you can’t get an argumentative ultra-conservative to agree with your point of view, so don’t bother trying.
Everyone’s witnessed it before, and probably many times. Those far-right folks angrily holler insults and post juvenile statements on news sites, often in response to others’ comments, and using inane arguments, to boot. And they don’t stop no matter how validly and authentically the other side retorts.
Give ‘em a one-time, corrective reply? Sure. But to keep arguing with them is not only a waste of time, but it can damage your argument to the very many others who might be witnessing, too.
Any negativity in a message can cause other viewers to cast a negative shade on its subject. When that happens, that means the ultra-conservative won, and the progressive argument lost.
Making a resolution to end the arguments can save you time, protect your sanity, and protect your message, too.
There are many other resolutions that could be recommended, but which the already-long length of this posting restricts from details. If you care to develop them yourself from these general descriptions, they are:
- When debating conservatives, try using conservative arguments to defend progressive stances
- When in social environments with the other side, gain their respect by maintaining positivity and establishing common grounds
- Respond to issues endeared by conservatives by backtracking (i.e., they commonly attack the results of problems, not the problems themselves or their causes - take the argument's focus back to that cause)
(And if you want to ask for more information on those latter resolutions, and examples thereof, feel free to contact.)