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On last night’s “The Last Word,” Lawrence O’Donnell told listeners that with all their new anti-abortion legislation and the Alito outrage, the GOP is going to create a generation of “Rape Dads”: men who can expect the women they’ve victimized to give birth to their children. He didn’t shy away from this term: he put it out there passionately and forthrightly. This is the kind of messaging we need. This is how Radical Republicans do it. They use language to ‘flip’ issues, frame them and flip public opinion. This is how they win. This is how we can win. 

Think of all the ‘sticky’ phrases the GOP has used to fire up their voters. “Death Tax,” “Feminazi,” “Government Takeover” (Obamacare), ‘Entitlement” for Social Security (instead of ‘earned benefit’), even “Climate Change” instead of “Global Warming.” Just to illustrate the power of this kind of communications strategy, Democrats often adopt the Republican framing (esp. “entitlements” and “climate change” because the Republican language becomes is so widely adopted. 

“Rape Dads” has everything you’d want in a ‘sticky’ brainworm. It’s punchy. It’s startling. It’s rude. Most importantly, it’s UNDENIABLY TRUE. If we can get news anchors to ask GOPers about creating a generation of ‘rape dads,’ all they’ll be able to do is bluster about the lack of civility, how dare you, blah blah blah…in other words, avoid the topic. 

I’m posting this because crafting a phrase like this is one thing, driving it home is another. Would a Ted Cruz hesitate for a second to use a phrase this powerful if it were to his advantage? So let’s hear our side pound away at this to mainstream it.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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