Don't Think of an Elephant! is the definitive handbook for understanding what happened in the 2004 election and communicating effectively about key issues facing America today. Author George Lakoff has become a key advisor to the Democratic party, helping them develop their message and frame the political debate.
In this book Lakoff explains how conservatives think, and how to counter their arguments. He outlines in detail the traditional American values that progressives hold, but are often unable to articulate. Lakoff also breaks down the ways in which conservatives have framed the issues, and provides examples of how progressives can reframe the debate.
Lakoff's years of research and work with environmental and political leaders have been distilled into this essential guide, which shows progressives how to think in terms of values instead of programs, and why people vote their values and identities, often against their best interests.
Don't Think of An Elephant! is the antidote to the last forty years of conservative strategizing and the right wing's stranglehold on political dialogue in the United States.
As Belkin tells the story, a chronic problem for Democrats and their allies has been their focus on winning debates through better rhetoric. They assume public opinion is relatively static, and think the key to victory in any given argument is picking the right words or trying to shift the focus of conversation, so that the debate can take place on more favorable political grounds.
This advice makes plenty of sense in certain contexts, Belkin says. But one of his core principles is that too much focus on language and framing can limit the prospects for reform, by giving up on the possibility of changing minds over time.
“As long as we emphasize frame over facts,” Belkin said in a recent interview with HuffPost, “we’re going to be playing small ball.”