Republicans and Democrats have been redefining and reframing the political lexicon. News validated by journalistic methods that you don’t like is “fake news”. Is it tax cuts for the wealthy or tax relief for job creators?
Republicans have Frank Luntz and Democrats have George Lakoff (For reference and background see: http://www.businessinsider.com/political-language-rhetoric-framing-messaging-lakoff-luntz-2017-8
Mainstream non Democratic/Republicans need to come up with their own language and not let the Luntzes and Lakoffs and their partisan friends define the independent movement or independent voters. Make no mistake, the Republicans and Democrats who hold power don’t want an independent movement and they will use language as a weapon.
I’m looking for good accurate terms that the independent movement can use to build a lexicon of our own. Here are some that I’ve come up with so far.
Legacy Parties: Referring to the political parties inherited from our grandparents. Rather than saying “the Democratic and Republican Parties” or, “the major parties”. Legacy Parties is more accurate because these are parties foisted on us as if they are our genetic inheritance and we’re told there’s nothing we can do about it.
“Independent” : rather than centrist or moderate. Independent is someone who uses independent thought, rationality, objectivity and who is also informed by their personal subjective values. I believe that is what most people actually think of when they hear independent voter. Centrist or moderate is too often misused as a pejorative- and incorrectly – as meaning someone who doesn’t stand for anything, or someone willing to compromise on everything.
“The voter center”: rather than “the center”. “The center” can be misconstrued as a position that is midway between the official policies of the Democratic and Republican Party, that’s not often where the voter center is. At times the voter center will more closely align with the Democratic or Republican Party position. Other times the voter center doesn’t align with either the Democratic or Republican position. See campaign finance reform in Oregon as an example. Where both Democratic and Republican Party officials oppose campaign finance reforms but the voter center is in favor of the reforms. Using voter or voting center will advise listeners that we’re not always, or even most of the time, talking about that midpoint.
i/Independent (This is Oregon specific but should apply in any State that has a voter centered political party) When writing about the Independent Party of Oregon (IPO) supporting voters we will use i/Independent. The IPO forms its policies and platform positions based not only on its own membership, but based on where the majority of Oregonians are on policy issues. They are looking for the voter center so seeking i/Independent voter support
Donor base or Voter base: Rather than “the base” when speaking about legacy party supporters. Donor base and voter base are often not the same, or may have minimal overlap. A good example is on social issues. While right to life voters provide a significant amount of volunteer time – and some small donations- to the Republican Party, the donor base of the GOP is business. Their priorities and their motivations of donor and voter bases in legacy parties can be very different. (Though small donor bases are becoming more important with technology.)
Example: Independent voters are more likely than legacy party voters to have positions that across the board more closely align with the voter center.
We need to take control of our lexicon by using it consistently when writing and talking to media. Taking control of the movement and defining it requires a consistent informative lexicon.