Pivot Points: Election Night

This is the first post in our series “Pivot Points,” where Ellen Roche shares her first-draft ideas for the future of progressive messaging strategy.

Late in the day on Tuesday, November 8th, I arrived to a dizzyingly geometric Atlanta hotel for a Racial Equity Here workshop weary, proud and teary. I’d been driving through the South all day, past massive SECEDE signs, Trump/Pence signs, and few Clinton signs. I stopped off for a few hours in an Atlanta suburb to hold a Hillary sign and dropped my absentee ballot in the mail in a red state. I think my hands were shaking.

You know how this story ends. I showered, giddily googled the closest gay bar, where HRC happened to be hosting an HRC-aligned watch party, showed up alone, ate some red, white and blue cupcakes, and watched as the room shifted, gasp by gasp, from queer-buzzy-tipsy to stunned silence. I wandered back to my hotel room, typed a few blurry texts to friends, and got in bed to watch the electoral college cascade.

That night, I drafted a skeletal strategy and timeline to win back both houses of congress in 2018. I wrote two brand and messaging strategies that I thought could feasibly unite enough people to get us there. I sent them to a few friends and then I sat on them. Who was I to start crafting messaging for the whole progressive movement?

Since then, in conversations with my coworkers and friends and clients, many more ideas have bubbled up between us, some reflective of the national conversation and some in spite of it. I don’t know if any of them will work, but they’re not #resist and they’re not infighting. They’re starting points as we pivot toward figuring out who we are, what we stand for, and where we believe the country can go.

In this series, I’ll share and comment on some of these first-draft messaging “pivot points” floating around in the ether and in our conversations here at Provoc and with our clients. Stay tuned! And let us know where you think progressive messaging strategy should head.