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Winning Jobs, a narrative that works

The economy and inflation are top priorities for people in rural communities. How we communicate about these issues will have tremendous effect on this year’s high-impact policy debates and elections. Rural Democracy Initiative (RDI) consultant Bobby Clark and the Winning Jobs Narrative (WJN) team have identified an effective framework for communicating about economic issues. WJN’s worker-centered narrative resonates with people across race and geography.


The Winning Jobs Narrative consists of five key elements:

  1. Center and lead with working people — the heroes. 
  2. Emphasize respect for “work,” a deeply held shared value.
  3. Situate working people as the engines of our economy.
  4. Position government in a supportive role, equipping people, rather than placing government in a starring role.
  5. Relate policies, even targeted policies, to the broader economy and widespread benefits for all, showing our economic interconnectedness across race and geography.


Bobby recently met with RDI grantees to share the latest research and message testing. Through polling and interviews, Winning Jobs Narrative has found the following message to be particularly compelling: “Our agenda is about working to grow the economy by raising incomes and lowering costs for working people, so we have the tools and opportunities we need to build a good life.”

Bobby emphasized the importance of including specificity in our messaging. Be explicit about raising incomes, lowering costs, reining in corporate power, and supporting foundational programs such as affordable healthcare and childcare. Most Americans, including rural people, support an active role for government if they can see how a program is empowering and equipping everyday people with the essential foundation they need to build their lives and their communities.

Relating policies to the day-to-day economic concerns of most people, particularly lowering costs, is both highly persuasive and motivating. This approach, increases the likelihood that someone will vote and support candidates prioritizing working families with WJN framing.

The Winning Jobs Narrative is a widespread strategy. Already, Bobby and his team have briefed and trained over 3,500 leaders from more than 300 national, state, and local organizations across the country to utilize this messaging framework.

RDI and our partners put rural people and working families front and center, and we support community leaders to effectively advocate for the solutions communities need. The latest Winning Jobs Narrative briefing is one way RDI supports our grantees to engage rural people.