B²: “Is half the country racist?”

Neither candidate was ideal for many Repubs or Dems, but those who showed up at the polls had to choose someone. Americans voted, the Electoral College confirmed that vote, and now we’re days away from making it official via that ever important ceremony called Inauguration.

But division remains, most disturbingly evident in the cries of “racist!” towards Trump supporters.

True, racism does exist in this country and is deeply concerning.

True, some voters showed up in full support of everything the president-elect has said or done.

But also true? The majority of voters cast their vote for a variety of reasons. It’s unfair to assume otherwise and perpetuate the narrative that half the country is racist. Let’s be reasonable.

What if you’re asked about it? Can you pivot away from an absurd claim and point to bigger issues? Yes, yes you can. And here’s how.

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

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

Q: “We’re preparing for the inauguration of Donald Trump, a man who was elected to office by racist voters. What do you think this means for the next 4 years?”

B²: “That’s unfair. Voters, whether Democrat, Republican, or Independent showed up on Election Day for a variety of reasons. For example, the issue that most influenced my vote is <insert talking point>.”

Wherever you take the conversation next, expand on the myriad of issues weighing heavy on voters’ minds – Supreme Court, jobs, national security/ISIS, etc. You have enough material to create talking points for days.

The most important thing you have to do is refute the “racist” claim. It’s a narrative the media just can’t quit, so let’s help them. Refrain from saying what Trump voters “aren’t,” but rather quickly dismiss the generalization as absurd and/or unfair and then point to bigger issues that likely influenced the electorate.

B²: First 100 Days

Christmas Vacation, why ya gotta end?

But alas, it has. If you didn’t return to work last week, you did this week. Let’s ease back into the crazy with the good news first – 2016 is finished. We did it!

Now for the real news…all that happened in 2016 is ready to play out in 2017, and the world is watching. Cue the fast-approaching first 100 days of the Trump Administration.

(Taking guesses for the number of times the phrase “first 100 days” is mentioned between now and April 29. We’ll start: 235 million.)

All that to say, you better prepare to field questions and talk about what has been promised, what you hope to see, and calm down the Chicken Littles in the process.

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

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

Q: “What do you think the first 100 days will look like?”

B²: “Donald Trump made a lot of promises, and it’s important to hold him accountable. But we also have to wait and see what moves the new administration makes. What I hope to see <insert talking point>.”

Wherever you take the conversation next – Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, EPA regulations, the UN and Israel, TPP, immigration, etc. – manage expectations. Remind people that we have to let the first 100 days play out, but also we have to hold the president-elect and his administration accountable as they make moves. It’s a careful balance achieved via reasonable conversation on both sides of the aisle.

After all, there will be lots more “100-days” in the next four years.

B²: An Attitude of Gratitude

It’s been quite a year.

In the coming days, numerous listicles will pop up trying to make sense of (and laugh at) the good, the bad, and the ugly that defined much of 2016. The clickbait will be strong, and we aren’t ashamed to admit that we’ll fall prey more than once. Heck, we plan to compile a few lists of our own!

But we want to focus only on the good in our last B2 email of 2016, and for us that means gratitude. You’ve read and put into practice all we’ve taught you this year about blocking and bridging and finding common ground to win others to your side — The importance of communicating with the people in your life, even family and friends who disagree, is not lost on you. This is the greatest compliment. Thank you!

As a result, the post-election holidays with your second cousins (twice removed) should be no problem, right? Right. We trust you. Go forth.

With no specific issue to block and bridge this week, we want to share with you what DMG is thankful for…

Elastic waist pants, online shopping, and YOU!

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B2 day.

Here is how DMG will answer this very important question while staying true to our mission:

Q: “What is District Media Group thankful for this year?”

B²: “We are thankful for all our clients who are dedicated to connecting with people through the valuable tool of communication…<insert talking point about good communication>.”

Wherever we take the conversation next, just know that you all matter a whole lot. We do what we do because of you, and we’re thankful you’re willing to be good communicators on every issue. Cheers to a fantastic 2016!

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.