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: 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: 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: Do Muslims hate America?

Say what you will about Marco Rubio’s campaign for the White House or recent debate strategy, but his response to Donald Trump’s fumble on the Muslim question in last week’s GOP debate is a study in EXACTLY what to do.

The exchange looked a lot like this:

Jake Tapper asked Trump if he wanted to clarify a statement he made to Anderson Cooper only the night before: “Islam hates us.”  In true Trump fashion, he recycled a few of his favorite words (like “tremendous”) and stuck by his generalization.

Rubio realized the gaffe and used it to his advantage by first establishing common ground with Trump and then pivoting to his argument that Muslims are people too.

Well done.

This simple formula results in communications gold every time but first involves preparation and practice. Do you know how to tackle these tricky questions and then block and bridge to your talking points? Hint: common ground is your best friend.

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

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

Q: “Do you think Donald Trump is right? Do Muslims hate America?”

Rubio’s B²: “Let me say, I know that a lot of people find appeal in the things Donald says. The problem is presidents can’t just say anything they want. It has consequences here and around the world… There’s no doubt that radical Islam is a danger in the world. <Insert talking point>.”

Wherever you take the conversation next, remember that Trump can say what he wants and suffer zero consequences. Everyone else has to play by the rules, including you. Rubio’s response to Trump’s generalization is a case study in what to do, no matter the topic – start with common ground and then pivot to your talking points. Common ground softens the blow and makes you seem reasonable. And reasonable is exactly what you want to be to cut through the noise that is this election season.

B²: 2016 – Persona vs. Policy

The saga that is the 2016 Presidential Race continues this week in the form of two debates – one Republican, one Democrat.

Both sides anticipate narrowing down the field in order to name someone “nominee,” but the media chatter is ripe for distraction. We’ve heard a lot about Rubio’s finances, Jeb Bush’s reset button in the form of “Jeb can fix it,” Ben Carson’s alleged fabrication of a West Point scholarship, Trump’s success on SNL, and Fiorina’s “war” with the women on The View.

Headlines like these have been the drumbeat of every election cycle, but that doesn’t mean they should define the electorate’s scorecard. So, how can you shift the media spotlight away from persona and focus on policy?

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 of the <insert candidate’s name> controversy?”

: “We’re a year away from the election and voters will ultimately decide whether this narrative rings true. But regardless of who wins the presidency, he/she will have to focus on <insert policy issue> because <insert talking point>.”

Wherever you take the conversation next, talk about policy and its importance to the next POTUS regardless of party affiliation. Controversies either ruin a candidacy or fade away, but the need for good policy remains true. If your talking points prop up policy rather than persona, you’ll retrain the spotlight on a winning narrative.