Anand Giridharadas @AnandWrites @TIME editor at large. Author of @WinnersTakeAll, THE TRUE AMERICAN, & INDIA CALLING. MSNBC political analyst. @PriyaParker's man. Father. Rhymes with "almond." Feb. 08, 2019 2 min read

"I want a 2020 candidate that says we can do these things" -- @AOC, calling for Democrats to be the party of FDR, not UBS

What a lot of normcore pundits don't understand is that the maximalist position on certain issues is also the imaginative, exciting, bold position -- and therefore has a chance to win more votes, even across the political aisle, than the milquetoast centrist one.

We saw this play out with Trump, whose awful maximalist stances on immigration and trade won over more people than, say, Jeb's.

But it also works for positive ideas like universal healthcare. That idea, sold right, sold emotively, is exciting. Changing eligibility ages isn't.

"I want to live in a country where you don't have to ever think about where you're going to get your healthcare" is a much easier message, to people of all backgrounds, than "We need to reform insurance company billing practices and lower the Medicare entry age."

And it's a better policy. My point is hardly that what is salable should trump good policy. It's that full-on, ambitious policy is often falsely thought to be harder to sell, whereas, in fact, if you're a maestro of messaging, it's easier.

I sometimes think that, if the Democratic Party establishment were put in charge of removing a Band-Aid, it would propose lifting one millimeter of the band, then waiting a year for the hair to grow back fully, then lifting the next millimeter.

This is not the best way to do it.

One way to see this more clearly is to look backward at things that were once controversial and threatening to power.

"No child should ever work in a factory" seems a better pitch than "children under 100 pounds who have good educational prospects and don't have a waiver from their parents should not work in factories, unless they want to."

"Abolish slavery" seems a better pitch than "Please be as nice as possible to your slaves and give regular breaks and try to teach them to read if you have spare time, and pay them something small if you can from time to time, so it doesn't feel like slavery slavery."

"We are one nation, and we should have a network of roads to bind us as one" seems a better pitch than "Every jurisdiction must decide if it wants to raise tax funds for its own roads, and maybe if there are enough roads, we can create a public-private fund to connect them."

Often in history, in moments of great consequence, the right thing to do and the audacious thing to do and the most inspiring and invigorating thing to do are the same thing. When hope and history, policy and marketing, rhyme.

You can follow @AnandWrites.


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