With hardly a whimper, the Republican-controlled US House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday to increase the debt limit and avoid default. The action comes in stark contrast to two previous times in the past when Republicans pushed the government to the edge of default.
Two communication analysts say it is because of one word. Doug Hattaway and Steve Pierce in Politico Magazine charted the frequency of words used by both parties in the debates.
“Democrats undermined their own position by talking too much about raising the debt limit—and not talking about the consequences of sending the country into default. As seen in the word frequency chart above, the word “default” didn’t even show up in the debate during the first round of this fight in 2011,” they report.
They say the conversation changed immediately once Democrats took control of their language. Polls reflected the change within two weeks, according to their analysis.
“Democrats also dialed up the emotional resonance of the message by saying that a default could cause an economic ‘catastrophe.’ Emotion works with cognition in the brain to help us with attention, retention and motivation. A message must create an emotional reaction for people to notice it, much less remember it,” they concluded.
Pretty good work. Well supported