Candidates Need Stories

Humans are story-tellers. We have been telling stories since the beginning of our species. We love stories, whether they are true stories or stories we create. We also remember points better when put in story form. Jesus spoke in parables because the point he was making was much more likely to be remembered if he told a story.
Too often, though, political candidates overlook this very human fact. Too often political candidates give information to the voters not in "story form" but in statistics. Statistics without a narrative are very hard to remember. Policy proposals without a story line are also hard to remember.

Democratic and progressive candidates need to develop story lines. Think about the political ads that you remember from last year's presidential and congressional campaigns. I bet the ones you remember are the ones that had a story line or that told a story.

Ronald Reagan often told stories to make his points. Usually they were made up and untruthful, but the point was that his audience could relate to them. We need liberal, Democratic, and progressive candidates to do the same thing.

It is not always easy finding a story line or a narrative for political ads or for political campaigns. I have been involved in several campaigns and must admit that I didn't always appreciate the need for a narrative theme or story line. As I get older, though, I realize the importance of telling a good story to get people to remember what you are saying.

People who read this blog or follow politics closely are passionate about politics. Here is a newsflash: most Americans aren't. Most Americans care as much for politics as we care for things like (here fill in a topic that is important for you, but one in which you have a marginal interest, like the details of your health insurance policy, if you are lucky enough to have such a policy).

Those of us who are passionate about politics often seem to have the attitude that "damnit people should be interested in politics." I understand the attitude, but wanting something to be so doesn't make it so. Bottom line: most people aren't that passionate about politics, so we have to find a way to communicate information to them in ways they understand and relate to.

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