Practical Frames

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Forward Framing

A repository of practical political frames for the liberal/progressive community.


The idea of the “Forward Framing” is to provide a repository of frames for anyone to use in thinking about and communicating about politics. The frames in “Forward Framing” are designed to support the liberal/progressive movement. On this page you will find a list of links to framing articles about various topics. The primary list gives you an abstract of each of these pages.

This area of dKosopedia contains information on current liberal Democratic thought on various topics. A “frame” is a context for thoughts, and “reframing” allows us to change the frames associated with political concepts to those that help our cause. Use the following links to find proper language to respond to Republican frames.

The concept of reframing political arguments got an enormous boost from George Lakoff. Lakoff founded the progressive think tank, the Rockridge Institute, which concentrates in part on helping liberal candidates and politicians with re-framing political metaphors.

We invite members of the community to participate in framing, and we have set aside areas of DKosopedia for this work. Go to the Frame Creation by Topic area to select a topic and start a round of framing. When you have finished, summarize the results by updating one of the pages listed here or creating a new one for your frame. You can find more information on the process of producing frames on the Framing page.

What Does Framing Give You?

This section is designed as both a "repair shop" and a “factory.” As a repair shop, you can bring your tired, old, battered hand-me-down frame from the Republican Party and get a realigned and polished frame that work for Democrats. As a factory, you can select a new shiny new, up-to-date frame that will serve as a sleek new vehicle to get you around the political landscape.

Re-articulating the core principles of the Democratic Party and evaluating vision/threat/status of each principle is a big project. But we have real problems to fix that can't wait for broad repairs to our party infrastructure. In the short run, we need to fix as many frames as possible--we need to make repairs to the language we are using. If we repair enough political concepts, driving will become safer and easier.

If you want to do "big picture" stuff go see Vision for America. If you want to add a frame here, we suggest you use the framing process described on the Framing page.

Topic List

Topic Abstracts

This section provides an alphabetical summary of the Forward Framing pages.

Affirmative Action

Affirmative Action

  • Provides a gathering place for ideas to support affirmative action.

The Attack on Our Rights

Democrats Are Not Traitors

  • Examines common Republican slurs on the patriotism of Democrats. Lists the two dozen primary rights asserted by the Constitution and ways in which the current administration has weakened those rights and/or violated the laws. Provides responses and counters, as well as extensive links for information about the Constitution and organizations looking out for our rights.

Challenges to Democracy

Reaffirm Democracy

  • List the twenty government programs invading our privacy or denying our rights and points out their anti-democratic nature. Calls on us to reaffirm democracy by withdrawing support for these programs and demanding that the government adhere to the law. Provides details on the five most important challenges to democracy, and gives responses and counters, as well as resources for responding.

“Culture of Life” Reframing

Reframe “Culture of Life”

  • Suggestions for responding to this Republican frame with values that show liberals value life and Republican policies tend to devalue it.



  • Looks at components of democracy, such as equitable control of resources and governmental processes of fairness.

Economic Policy

Economic Policy

  • Examines issues in economic policy, such as the stratification of economic health by level of wealth, how to restore economic fundamentals, and reframing issues to the advantage of Democrats. Provides responses for common Republican framing.

Emergency Response

Emergency Response

  • Placeholder for a frame on emergency response.

Hurricane Katrina and Emergency Response

  • Surveys Katrina-related issues, including FEMA, refugees, the future of New Orleans, and climate change.

Fair Elections

Fair Elections

  • Examines problems with elections, including electronic voting, registration, partisan control of elections, defects in electioneering, campaign finance, and election auditing. Provides resource links.

“Framing” Bush and Cheney for Impeachment

Impeaching Bush and Cheney

  • Makes the case that Congress should pursue the impeachment of George Bush and Dick Cheney.

“Health Savings Accounts” Reframing

Health Savings Accounts

  • This is a placeholder and a reference to a diary by Jeffrey Feldman reframing this issue. It examines the conservative concept of “health savings accounts,” used to frame healthcare as solely an individual responsibility and problems with the healthcare system as problems of irresponsible consumer behavior. Provides ideas for reframing healthcare problems, including possible responses, resources, and other notes.

International Trade Agreements

International Trade Agreements

  • Examines how international trade agreements have damaged the U.S. economy and destroyed significant wealth building in the country, as well as diluting workers’ rights. Provides links to resources.

“Ownership Society” Reframing

Ownership Society

  • Examines the conservative concept of “ownership society,” an umbrella phrase for programs like “health savings accounts” and “personal retirement accounts” intended to push responsibility for social problems onto individuals. Analyses how the term is used and provides ways to counter and respond, as well as resources to draw on.

“Personal Retirement Accounts” Reframing

Personal Retirement Accounts

  • Examines the conservative concept of “personal retirement accounts,” offered as an alternative to Social Security and used to frame retirement savings as an individual responsibility. Analyses the economic and social deficiencies of using PRAs for retirement funding, specifically security, fees, and uncertainty.

Prosecuting Officials for Crimes

Framed: Prosecuting Officials for Crimes

  • Examines the frames and issues around prosecuting officials for major violations of law, including constitutional, international and federal laws. This includes the question of prosecuting Bush-era officials for torture and illegally spying on Americans.

Selecting Presidential Nominees

Target President Profile

  • Provides a gathering place for ideas on what constitutes the ideal Democratic presidential nominee for the next election. Addresses Republican frames related to the presidential race, such as “tax relief.” Analyses what constitutes a good president and realigns the frame in terms to the advantage of Democrats.


Political Philosophy of Sex

  • Provides a liberal political philosophy of sex that blunts Republican efforts to use people’s fear of sex to drive their political agenda. Covers a large set of issues related to sex and politics, such as marriage, sex education, obscenity/pornography, health issues, privacy, lifestyles, rape, child abuse, and sexism. Provides responses to common Republican attacks and phrases.

Social Justice

Social Justice

  • Examines social justice and provides a framework for gathering ideas about social justice issues.

Social Security

Framed: Social Security (new as of December 2010)

See also Personal Retirement Accounts

“Terrorism” Reframing

Reframe “Terrorism”

  • Explores the meaning of “terror” and how it is used, including its propaganda use as in the “[term:war on terror|war on terror]”.

White Collar Unemployment

White Collar Unemployment

  • Examines the damage caused by layoffs and chronic white collar unemployment. Provides concepts for rebuilding the middle class and white collar activism. Reframes the issue to coordinate with other Democratic issues.

Key diaries

Below is a collection of key diaries on this topic. Please only put diaries that have achieved "recommended" status on Daily Kos:

  • Using the Republican Meme To Our Advantage - by adguy (Aug 19, 2006) - great suggestions for very Rovian phrases, such as "Power-Drunk Anti-Constitutionists", "Corrupt and Morally-Bankrupt Republicans", "Incompetence Central", "Snake Oil Salesmen", "Fiasco-nistas", "Enemies of Innovation", and "Comfortably-Corrupt Republicans"

See also

Frame Projects

Historical Note

Originally, this area was developed as an analogy to FrameShop as a workspace for continuing and refining the work begun by Jeffrey Feldman's series FrameShop Diaries on DKos, introduced in this diary. Feldman set up a site to continue this work, which you can find here. The terms “FrameShop” and “FrameShop is open” are trademarks claimed by Jeffrey Feldman.

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