We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
As Democratic presidential candidates have proved in heated debates over adjective choice, language can trump the economy or the war in Iraq on the stump. Bernie Horn’s Framing the Future: How Progressive Values Can Win Elections and Influence People highlights words as the fundamental weapons in any liberal’s arsenal, especially since conservatives wield them so well—after all, it’s easier to vote against the “Democrat party” than the “Democratic party.” Horn’s opaque, Rove-like constructions may alienate plain-speaking lefties who wish to defend civil liberties (“security and safety”), tax relief (“tax fairness”), and welfare (“assistance”), but his nonconfrontational issue-framing beckons to undecided voters who can be swayed by rhetoric that does not challenge but persuades. As an endless primary enters its second spring and the general election looms, liberals—ahem, “progressives”—may wish to swallow his bitter prescription to avoid the bitterer taste of defeat. Horn discusses and signs copies of his work at 7 p.m. at Olsson’s Books & Records, 1307 19th St. NW. Free. (202) 785-1133.