B²: Do It For America

After Donald Trump’s victory early Wednesday morning, it became very clear that sore losers across the country were not going down without a fight.

#NotMyPresident began trending on social media, American flags were lit on fire on college campuses, and anti-Trump graffiti defaced historic monuments like “The Thinker” in Philly. And in less dramatic, but just as poignant protest, social media accounts of friends were ripe with disappointment, anger, and even hatred towards the President-Elect and the millions of Americans who demanded their voice be heard.

Our country needs to chill out, whether it wants to or not. The people voted and it wasn’t even close. Let’s respect the process.

How can you, regardless of who you voted for, take a cue from Trump’s, Clinton’s, and Obama’s speeches that it’s time to heal, unite, and move forward?

If you haven’t already, you’re sure to be asked, “What do you think about Trump being president?” Whether you’re a fan, a protestor, or someone who simply relishes the end to 596 days of campaigning, there is a right way to answer. With grace.

Thankfully it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here is this week’s likely question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

If you supported Donald Trump:

Q: “What do you think about Trump being president?”

B²: “I’m thrilled that the American people stood up to politicians who promise one thing and do another, but I also know the we must hold Trump accountable to the promises he made lest he fall into the same camp. For example, <insert talking point>.”

If you didn’t support Donald Trump:

Q: “What do you think about Trump being president?”

B²: “While he wasn’t my choice, I’m glad the American people are fed up with politicians who promise one thing and do another. But now it’s time to <insert talking point>.”

Wherever you take the conversation next, it’s important to stand firm, even if expressing an unpopular opinion. Just remember that discernment and kindness go a long way when sharing and listening. It was a tough election with unpopular choices. Though it might be tempting to disparage someone for their vote, don’t. Instead, look forward to healing the divide. The common ground we can all find and occupy? The election is over (yay!).

B²: Polling Place Volunteers

IT’S FINALLY HERE. After 596 days, America gets to vote.

(In case you missed it, and want to know, you can enter your birth date into this calculator and it will tell you how much of your life has been spent tolerating the 2016 election cycle. You’re welcome.)

While we’re all glad the end is near (fingers crossed), the healing process needs to begin ASAP. If you didn’t vote early, and you’re headed to the polls today, you have an opportunity to take back the conversation and model the level of decorum we hope for in society. That’s right, the healing process starts at the ballot box.

Let us explain — It’s tempting to glare at (and treat poorly) the polling place volunteers as they hand you a sample ballot filled with people/positions you don’t support. But you have another option…

Good thing it’s Tuesday, Election Day 2016.

Here is this week’s likely question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

Q: “<Volunteer hands you a sample ballot> “Would you like a sample ballot before heading into the booth?”

B²: “I really appreciate you volunteering your time since our political process is so important, but those individuals/issues don’t represent the direction I hope for our country. <Insert talking point>.”

Wherever you take the conversation next, remember to be kind and thank the volunteer for engaging in the political process BEFORE pivoting to your principles. This person is donating their time to make sure you can engage in your civic duty, regardless of political affiliation. Recognize the person and then pivot to talk of the free society you hope for.

If you do this, you have taken the first step (that we all need to take) to change the narrative.

B²: The Public Option

In what seems to be a surprise to no one – including Dems – ObamaCare is struggling.

In an effort to explain away its issues, the president has diagnosed his signature legislation with growing pains and likened it to a starter home and the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (that can’t stop, won’t stop blowing up). “Interesting” comparisons that offer little relief to those affected by ObamaCare’s failure.

Please try again.

But here we are. Today marks the first day of open enrollment for healthcare coverage in 2017, premiums are rumored to increase by 25%, and the only solution offered up by those who voted for ACA is the public option. In other words, let’s rely more heavily on government to fix a government problem.

No thanks.

While questions about ObamaCare are ripe for the picking this week, it’s good to have a strategy to articulate how devastating ObamaCare has been. But how do you develop a good response to pro-ObamaCare questions instead of just simply saying, “I told you so?” 

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here is this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

Q: “With frustration nation-wide about ObamaCare’s rising premium costs, shouldn’t we consider pursuing a public option?”

B²: “Absolutely not. The public option actually doubles down on the failures of ObamaCare. And here’s what we know doesn’t work…<insert talking point>.”

Wherever you take the conversation next, talk about ObamaCare’s failure as reason numero uno to back away from a public option. Because Dems agree that ObamaCare isn’t working as it should, use that point of agreement to establish common ground. Then, pivot to a better solution that doesn’t include government interference.

If all else fails? Just call it the “craziest thing in the world.” Worked for Bill Clinton, right?

B²: And the winner is…!

14 days and this whole crazy season comes to (or should come to) a close.

We wrote in January about how to B² (block and bridge) prediction questions in reference to the primaries and protecting your tax status. That advice still applies, just replace “primary” with “general” and go forth.

But the next two weeks promise news reports, headlines, and tweets that will complicate the narrative. It’s not just about “who do you think will win on November 8th,” but also rigged elections, phony polls to suppress voter turnout, and Trump’s claim that he will accept the election results if he wins.

Not only do you need to be careful of predicting the winner, but you have to take into account all the crazy too. Get ready.

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here is this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

Q: “With polls pointing to a victory for Hillary, is there a way forward for Donald Trump?”

B²: “Voters will decide the outcome in a couple weeks. But regardless of who wins the presidency, or what political party wins the majority in Congress, an issue that will be of immediate concern is <insert talking point>.”

Wherever you take the conversation next, don’t give additional air time to predictions or unsubstantiated claims. That isn’t your business, and you risk burying your message. Let pundits hash out the polls and conspiracy theories. You stick to your message and talk policy.

NOTE: This advice also applies to down-ballot races.

B²: A Rigged Election

Over the weekend, Donald Trump and company (shout out to Rudy Giuliani!) began to speculate about the possibility of a rigged election. These cries have only become louder and more numerous in recent days. And you can bet they will continue if the poll numbers increasingly favor Hillary Clinton.

Whether you find any validity in Trump and company’s claims, it’s a great moment to turn the conversation to voter ID laws, and what it means to move through the election process in a free and fair way.

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here is this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

Q: “Donald Trump has started talking about the possibility of a ‘rigged election.’ Do you think he’s right?”

B²: “We can all agree that a free and fair election is everyone’s goal, and those who meet the requirements to vote should be allowed to vote. One way we make sure those requirements are met is <insert talking point>.”

Wherever you take the conversation next, move away from talk that includes a “rigged election” and similar conspiracy theories. Use this moment to have a serious conversation about voter ID laws, an issue that resurfaces every election cycle. If we want to guarantee free and fair elections, we need to start outlining what that process looks like and why. Last minute cries of “it’s rigged!” don’t resonate, especially at the end of an election cycle that seemingly won’t quit.

For more talking points on how to defend voter ID, read Beverly’s column in The Daily Signal.

B²: Is it too late now to say sorry?

Repeat after us: “I’m sorry.”

Because the first 30 minutes of Sunday night’s debate focused only on the scandalous, it’s obvious that Trump, Clinton, and surrogates should reevaluate their crisis management strategies.

What doesn’t work? Dismissing the accusations, pivoting to another’s bad behavior to take the spotlight off your own, and/or lying. These strategies get you nowhere with undecided voters. With so many words and actions to apologize for between the two candidates, it seems like a lesson in how to say “I’m sorry” is applicable.

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here is this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

Q: “What do you have to say about <insert scandal>?”

B² (if you’re the accused): “I made a mistake and sincerely apologize to the American people. But I assure you I’ve learned from the mistakes in my past and will do everything I can to prove that as president my words and actions will represent all people in this country.”

B² (if you’re speaking on behalf of the accused): “Donald Trump* made a mistake and sincerely apologized to the American people. When he says he’s learned from his mistakes and will do everything he can to prove that he’ll represent all people as president, I believe him.”

*Can be replaced with “Hillary Clinton”

Wherever you take the conversation next, make sure your statement includes an apology. If you made a mistake, admit it. Voters will forgive an indiscretion if you ask forgiveness rather than try to explain it away or cover it up. And if you’re speaking on behalf of someone who made a mistake, refer back to their apology. Just like the accused, you can’t dismiss (or make light of) the charges. It may not seem obvious in 2016, but honesty still counts for something.

B²: Say what?

Though you might not wear a hearing aid now (or for a long time), you will have to wear an IFB in a satellite interview. Just like Stockdale’s hearing aid, the volume on your IFB may be turned down or it could malfunction. Either is possible, so you should be prepared to graciously answer the question you can’t hear instead of adopting a deer-in-the-headlights stare.

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here is this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

Q: “<Insert muffled question you can’t hear>?”

B² (if you only hear a portion of the question): “I didn’t hear the entire question, but I think you asked about <insert issue>. My take is…<insert talking point>.”

B² (if you can’t hear anything): <Place your hand over the ear with the IFB> “Do you mind repeating the question? I’m struggling to hear you.”

Wherever you take the conversation next, remember the audience knows the only audio you have is via an ear piece. They will forgive you if you have to ask the reporter to repeat the question or if you have to admit that you only heard a portion and will answer as you want. These rules also apply if you do wear a hearing aid now and have trouble hearing the moderator or reporter. Just replace “IFB” with “hearing aid” in the above instructions and you’re all set.

B²: He Said, She Said

A lot of people tuned in to witness Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton strike the careful balance between policy talk and entertainment television. Americans want to know where the candidates stand on the issues, but also demand a meme-able moment…or 7.

Last night delivered. With a one-on-one split screen that just wouldn’t quit, the candidates were on full display. And a non-existent moderator allowed both to trade unassisted monologues and attack each other without limitation.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, in a debate without a moderator to interrupt or apply a timeline, how do you defend yourself?

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here is this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

Q: “<Insert Hillary’s attack on tax returns>.”

B²: “<Dismiss tax return claim and quickly pivot to Clinton Foundation>.”

Wherever you take the conversation next, very quickly discredit the claim and then attack your opponent. When Hillary mentioned Trump’s tax returns, the best response would’ve been to dismiss it and then attack her on the Clinton Foundation. A worthy attack he didn’t take advantage of, which seems to be the theme of the night…on both sides. In a debate, you always want to move from defense to offense. In. Every. Answer.

B²: Cough, Cough

It doesn’t take a visit to WebMD to figure out that something is wrong with Hillary Clinton.

Despite the muddled and changing responses Clinton’s campaign has offered to explain her mysterious illness (illnesses?), one thing is certain – her health is now a news cycle of its own.

You will likely field questions about pneumonia, overheating, and/or seizures when asked by the media to address the 2016 political landscape, but don’t give in. You’re not a doctor, so don’t give a diagnosis.

If you have policy matters to discuss, DMG promises you can avoid sacrificing your interview time to address Clinton’s health concerns. How?

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here is this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

Q: “Do you think voters should continue to worry about Hillary Clinton’s health getting in the way of her ability to perform presidential duties?”

B²: “It’s obvious Secretary Clinton is under the weather, so I first want to wish her a quick recovery. Voters do/don’t have a right to be concerned because… <insert talking point>.”

Wherever you take the conversation next – to approach Hillary’s health issues as a cover up or pivot to a policy unrelated to pneumonia – always show sympathy first by wishing her to better health.

Meeting emotion with emotion will not only prevent you from looking insensitive to the fact that she is struggling, but will give you credibility to bridge to what you want to talk about.

After all, despite the dozen Saturdays you’ve devoted to binge-worthy medical shows like Grey’s Anatomy, ER, or Scrubs, it’s best if you realize others may be more qualified than you to address bronchial issues.

B²: Aleppogate

Everyone and their mother has chimed in on Gary Johnson’s very sincere inquiry: “And what is Aleppo?”

Some quickly rushed to his defense: 1) claiming Trump didn’t understand Brexit and/or 2) pointing out Johnson’s authenticity in not trying to cover up what he didn’t know. Others find it appalling that a man running for President of the United States didn’t recognize the center of the refugee crisis.

Regardless of your take on the Gary Johnson fiasco, we want to analyze the mistake and recommend a way forward for him and for you (if you should find yourself in a similar situation).

So, here’s what we can learn:

Admit when you’re wrong (ahem, Hillary Clinton). If you found Johnson’s question refreshing, you’re not alone. His sincere and forthright response demonstrated humility and transparency – rare qualities among politicians these days.

That said, he could’ve handled it better. So, for Gary Johnson, and everyone else who finds themselves in a similar situation, we have a suggestion or two.

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here is this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

Q: “Insert question you don’t understand or haven’t been briefed on>?”

B²: Whether it’s Aleppo or any other issue, we have to be thoughtful and approach with leadership. One way to do so is…<insert talking point>.”

Wherever you take the conversation next, give a vague answer hoping for further clarification OR admit the issue is outside your frame of reference. Both responses guarantee no harm, no foul.