The Importance of Storytelling in Reaching More People With the Conservative Message

AP Photo/Amanda Lee Myers

Remember this clip from 1991’s “City Slickers?”

What started as a typical sports argument (Hank Aaron vs. Roberto Clemente) rapidly became more profound and philosophical. Especially poignant was this line:

You’re right, I suppose. I mean, I guess it is childish … but when I was about 18, and my dad and I couldn’t communicate about anything at all, we could still talk about baseball. Now that was real.

The ability to communicate, to tell a story, is a fundamental skill in many aspects of life. This includes politics in ways surprisingly spread out beyond the areas in which standard thought dictates storytelling normally resides.

Nothing derails a good candidate faster than bad messaging. A candidate may have a track record second to none, but if they cannot effectively communicate to the masses, their campaign is doomed. Conversely, someone can have a tissue-thin rėsumė, if they have one at all, yet can advance far above what their qualifications indicate is their maximum upward reach.

Name names? Sure. At the risk of aggravating people, I point to Ron DeSantis as someone whose list of accomplishments should have made him, even with Donald Trump’s presence in the race, at the least a powerful contender for the GOP presidential nomination. Instead, he was a quick washout. Why?

Let’s look at his introductory ad.


Honestly, the ad was less compelling than cold oatmeal. There was no personal connection, no indication of who he was. Reciting a dry list of the current administration’s failures was plucking fruit from insignificant, low-lying branches.


Nothing in the ad connected the Biden Administration’s failures to the common person. A far more effective approach would have been:

This hurts your wallet. This is impinging on your freedom. This is threatening your security and liberty. Now, compare that to what I’ve done for Floridians. For them, I dispensed with the useless COVID restrictions. For them, I fought and won against the woke agenda. For them, I fought and won for their rights as parents to raise their kids their way. 

Every single word would have resonated. Where were they?

Now, an example--I suspect you didn’t expect on RedState--of doing storytelling right. You don’t have to watch the whole thing, but force yourself to watch the first three minutes.


Obama told a story. It was his story, one he correlated with the American dream. Love or loathe the man — and I’m quite certain I know where 99.44 percent of our readers stand in this area — when taken at face value, he was an extremely effective communicator, able to bring people into believing that, going forward, his way was the best way for all people.

Political communication is not strictly the property of politicians, or for that matter, pundits. They, and we, have our roles and hopefully, in conservatism’s case, do them well. That said, it is up to everyone to effectively combat media and pop culture lies designed to indoctrinate people into not thinking for themselves, instead parroting the party line.


Making politics relatable is a fine art. It requires discarding the soapbox as something upon which to stand, and instead using its contents as you stand alongside others in the washroom, talking about everyday things and using them as a starting point for discussing what and why you believe. Knowledge is power, but it becomes powerless when ineffectively communicated.

Ronald Reagan was known as the Great Communicator not solely because of his measured, polished delivery. He was devastatingly effective at communicating his message warning against big government at home and totalitarianism abroad in simple but not simplistic language. To have a relatable story is vital for politicians and people on the street alike. If we are indeed to win our country back by winning over hearts and minds, it is up to each of us to take pride in our effort to unceasingly promote the things we believe in a manner to which others can connect.


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