Lay Out a Communications Plan to Make It All Happen
We Have Seen This Movie Before
We know the pattern. A new administration accomplishes a lot. But people feel more could have been done. Come midterm elections, the president’s party takes a beating.
Sometimes that beating includes losing control of one or both houses of Congress, which pretty well shuts down major progress for the rest of the first term.
How to avoid that fate? Much depends, of course, on how the down-ticket elections go. If Biden wins and the Democrats have control of both houses of Congress, as well as increases in state government, more will get done faster, but even in that rosy scenario, the bloom wears off.
If, for example, the economy is still weak, the new administration will take a hit. How to minimize the risk and make best use of all four years in the administration’s term?
A Three-Part Solution
Part One– Have the priorities list in place, tightly organized, and categorized. Share with the American people up front what gets the priority in time and energy and why. The list of what needs to be done is staggering.
By all means, try to get it all done. Swamp the resistance with relentless initiatives, investigations, and legislation. But keep the public focus on the most critical tasks.
Part Two – Resist the temptation of executive action and presidential directives where and when possible. Go for honest legislation. Put the repairs and initiatives into law. Directives are too easily reversed by the next administration.
Which reminds me – capture a full listing of Trump’s executive directives and reverse them as fast as humanly possible. If an occasional good one pops up, fine, but that is strikingly unlikely.
Here May be the Key to Avoiding the Midterm Drubbing
Part Three – As Parts One and Two are developed, share them as an integrated offering to the public. Every priority has a public component that consists of the following elements:
- Explain what is wrong or broken and why this is unacceptable.
- Who broke it? Clearly explain what the last administration did. List people by name, it wasn’t just Trump. What did their congressional buddies do to help them? What lobbyists? List them by name.
- Here is what we are going to do to fix it. This is a good time to list any Republicans or Independents who have signed on as cosponsors or supporters. Those that resist – carry the story back to their districts. “Your so-called representative helped create this problem that hurts the country, including people in your community. She still doesn’t get it, still spouts the failed positions of the past. Let her know you expect better and you are keeping score until Nov 2022. Get right or get out.”Come back and tell that story locally, with updates, regularly – right up until the midterms.
The Road Map Counts
Let’s help people stay focused. A clear way forward, complete with justifications, highlighting the costs of what was inherited, and what the fix is going to be, will help.
Give the people something they can refer to and keep score with over the months ahead. Something to remind us all what is important, who put us in this mess, and who is trying to keep us mired down.
In a sense, this would be like a continuous campaign. Not the nonsense rallies in the Trump mold, but more like the blitz of action and priorities that FDR brought to bear. He gave the people hope, optimism, specifics, and results.
Not a bad model, that one.
People get discouraged with slow progress; they get lost in the flood of information. Reward cooperation and punish obstruction. Maybe the new Republican leader in the Senate will have some interest in governing for a change.
McConnell may well, likely, will keep his seat; I hope not. But if he does return, the surviving Republicans in the Senate should know that who they choose as a leader will determine if they have a seat at the table shaping the next four years or one out in the hall somewhere.
Biden strikes me as a guy who can credibly offer that branch or wield that club, as needed.
If you find this blog worthy of your time and curiosity, I invite you to do two things:
(1) Join the conversation. Your voice counts here.
(2) Share the word about this blog with friends and colleagues. Share a link in your emails and social media posts. Let’s grow our circle.