A letter to Organizations and Campaign Staff
Dear Organization or Campaign Staff -
Thank you for being a leader! These are challenging times for our country, but if there's a silver lining from these unprecedented hardships and attacks on our democracy, your willingness to step up to the plate and represent or organize in your community is it.
Watching the right use explicit and implicit appeals to racial enmity and white identity as a central electoral strategy has been devastating -- and for many of us, terrifying. They play to Americans’ worst fears in order to roll back progress on issues including immigration, sanctuary cities, criminal justice reform, voting rights, and creating a more fair economy. However, this assault has also started to provoke a backlash from people of good faith who believe in the ideal of e pluribus unum.
To help determine which will prevail in this contest between two futures for our United States, we present you this new set of tools to help you succeed in creating a positive, peaceful future where our differences are celebrated. The Demos Action/ASO Communications/Ian Haney Lopez Race Class Narrative represents the culmination of research begun in Summer 2017 to understand how Americans feel, think, and reason about race in order to move them towards a desire for cross-racial solidarity in service of a progressive future on racial and economic issues. With opponents blasting unrelenting dog whistles, the time for us to go on offense on this issue is now.
This research delved deeply into the conscious and unconscious assumptions voters and potential voters hold on questions of race and class. Now, we are providing a series of tools to make this research readily usable for your campaign: This includes everything from research briefs and summaries to social media messages, mailers, and ads you can tailor to your own race.
It's possible that your opponent will not be utilizing racially-charged rhetoric. While certain campaigns in more progressive areas may not face race-baiting directly from the opponent, sadly, the use of racially-charged yet coded language is, indeed, the soundtrack to this election. As such, we believe people across regions will find these tools helpful. We are expecting that even campaigns that mainly avoid racial division initially may increase their usage of it towards the end. This is a pattern we’ve seen play out in several races over the past year. We want you to be prepared if this happens.
You are on the front lines of the change we need. We appreciate the hard work you’re doing and hope you’ll stay in touch.
Anat Shenker-Osorio (Founder, ASO Communications) and Causten Rodriguez-Wollerman (Director of Partnerships, Demos) and the rest of the Race Class Narrative staff