Candidates Who Explain Progressive Policies via Conservative Principles Could Be Uniquely Persuasive
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has impressed a lot of people with his ability to speak many languages during his campaign for the presidency. But Buttigieg’s greatest asset may be his ability to speak Republican.
Though he’s a liberal Democrat, the presidential hopeful often frames his arguments in terms of traditional, even conservative, values. He speaks about faith and freedom and service to the nation, arguing that these bedrock principles actually align with progressive policies.
Should the long-shot candidate get the party’s nomination, new research suggests that this rhetorical ability could make him quite formidable in the general election.
Researchers report that, in two studies featuring more than 4,000 people, “a presidential candidate who framed his progressive economic platform to be consistent with conservative values like patriotism, family, and respect for tradition—as opposed to more liberal value concerns like equality and social justice—was supported significantly more by conservatives and, unexpectedly, by moderates as well.”