March 22, 2021

Patriotism in Democratic Messaging

By Max Stahl

As a full-service digital firm, New Blue Interactive works with impactful clients across the full ideological spectrum of Democratic elected officials, candidates, and advocacy groups.

This gives us a valuable opportunity to see the performance of various political messaging frames with audiences in real-time. In my role as Director of Strategic Messaging, I spend a lot of my time evaluating successful frames and figuring out how to adjust them to match the unique voice of our clients.

Sometimes, there is a moment where a particular messaging frame is so effective that it connects with audiences across the full range of our clients.

This is one of those moments, which is why I’m taking the time to share what we learned outside the firm.

We are seeing Democratic clients across the ideological spectrum finding success in fundraising and communications messaging that highlights the value of patriotism.

This messaging strategy is used widely by our strategists across the firm, and is well exemplified by NBI clients in their work as Impeachment Managers.

For decades, Republicans have purposely staked out a brand as a “pro-America” party. That branding is so strong that even after their president openly sided with Putin and tried to lead an insurrection, many Americans still believe it.

However, the events of the Trump administration have given us a rare opportunity to reset this narrative.

We have found that messaging that positions the client or organization as a defender of American values has consistently led to some of our best performing fundraising and engagement messages on email and social media.

One of the great parts about this messaging strategy is that it works for Democrats (and organizations) in all corners of our big tent by leveraging our collective national self-image and contrasting it with Republican behavior that threatens it.

At this moment of so much chaos, people are looking for a clear moral direction, and Democrats have an opportunity to step up and own patriotism as a core part of our identity as a party. We are encouraged to see so many Democrats taking it.