What We Can Learn From McMorrow’s Viral Video

Michigan State Senator Mallory McMorrow

I’ve been thinking a lot about Michigan State Senator Mallory McMorrow’s viral video from last week and how, beyond being a brilliant response, appears to hold the keys to how Democrats — politicians and even us voters — can deliver our messages leading up to the midterms, and beyond.

But first, if you haven’t watched it, or if you haven’t watched the full 4 1/2 minutes, take a moment to do that now:

As I’m sure you’ve no doubt noticed, the Republicans have gotten even more craven in their attempt to smear Democrats across the board. Their latest insult is to smear all of us as “groomers” and worse. And don’t think they’re only applying this label to politicians. Oh no. If you vote for Democrats, you’re at the very least “pro-groomer” in their rhetoric now.

Enter Mallory McMorrow. As so many have pointed out, she had a fiery response to a fellow state senator, a Republican, who smeared her in this way. And I think her short floor speech went viral in large part because folks on the left are hungry for more officials to show passion and steely resolve when dealing with Republicans.

But perhaps it also went viral because she did a lot of smart things in her speech. James Carville put into words a lot of what I was thinking, in a Greg Sargent piece in the Washington Post. (“Opinion: A young Democrat’s viral takedown demands a ‘wokeness’ rethink”) Here’s an excerpt:

“Enormously effective piece of communication,” Carville told me. “There’s really no comeback to it.”

You’ll note that McMorrow didn’t sound defensive or offer mealy-mouthed, hairsplitting fact-checks. She didn’t capitulate to the Republican framing of these matters for a second.

Instead, McMorrow laid bare her deepest convictions and explained how they lead her to her positions on gay and trans rights, and why basic human decency demands them. Importantly, she made this about what Republicans are doing.

I invite you to think about these elements of her speech. And while I hope that more elected Democrats may take a page from McMorrow and start talking this way more often, I think each of us can employ these techniques ourselves. Particularly if you create any content on social media, or even respond to others’ content in the comments section, using these same techniques can be enormously effective.

Know why you have the values that you do, connect your own story to those values (and the values of the Democratic party), and then reveal that Republicans are just using incendiary words to distract everyone from the fact that they stand for NOTHING.

I hope to see a lot more of this, and from everyone, in the weeks and months to come.


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2 replies

  1. She’s a rock star! More of this please! Strong, confident, progressive values! YES!!!

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