ON MESSAGE: How to escape the far right’s border trap
Anat Shenker-Osorio joins us to talk about the real causes of the border fight, why our leaders should be for humane immigration and not just against chaos, and the case for taco trucks everywhere
You’ve seen the photos. Images of chaos on the border, kids alone in detention centers, asylum seekers in flip-flops waiting for sleeping bags or tents in New York or Chicago in the middle of winter.
More than a third of Americans are more concerned about immigration than they are about inflation or abortion rights or any of the other pressing issues facing the country right now.
But even as border crossings remain high, President Biden and Congress are trapped in a war of words and nobody seems to be able to take action. The State of Texas is making matters worse by ignoring the Supreme Court, while House Republicans are set for some reason on impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
Last week, Biden called the House’s bluff, asking for Congress to give him additional authority to act. Meanwhile, former president Donald Trump is actively trying to sabotage any border agreement so he can maintain the chaos as a campaign issue.
It’s no surprise Americans are worried about what’s happening, they want somebody to do something about it, and they’re confused about why nobody is.
We turn again to our messaging guru, Anat Shenker-Osorio, to help us make sense of what’s happening — and to answer the question on so many minds: is there a way for well-intentioned leaders to respond to the public’s documented fear of border chaos and do so in a humane, just way?
To hear more from Anat on her work, and how messaging can make real change, make sure to listen each week to her excellent podcast, Words to Win By, now in its third season. Episode 4 premieres February 6.
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Many Americans are frightened and anxious about what's happening, and they feel like the country’s losing control on the border. What do they need to know?
There are solutions, Democrats have laid them out, and they recognize people’s humanity — but Republicans are creating chaos so they can screw us.
A lot of these folks feel sad and helpless and angry at Biden.
What it comes down to, in terms of how to communicate to people, is that Democrats are for solutions and Republicans are for chaos, for fear. Here's your choice. You can either vote for fear or you can vote for an answer that actually works in the majority of Americans' favor. Because it's still true, even in all this mess, that most people support some form of fair immigration policy, some form of comprehensive immigration reform.
The Democrats need to be saying “Here's the set of solutions that we've proposed. Here is the funding that we have attached to finance it. We're ready to go. We are ready to get this thing under control and to create a fair immigration process that respects all families. And these Republicans absolutely need a crisis. They require a crisis, chaos, so they can distract you.”
There’s a difference between saying that and saying, “Look at these Republicans, they’re hypocrites. They claim that they want border, they keep saying they want border, they keep talking about the border, border border — and now they’re torpedoing this deal because they want to screw Joe Biden. They’re just playing politics, they just want to screw Joe Biden.”
This is the wrong point. The point to make is that the Republicans want to screw you. So that they can take your money. So they can rule over us, not represent us. So that they can shut you up and then you'll have no voice.