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Making a Case for Taxes

Fundamental to every public policy is the ability to fund that policy. And yet, issue advocates typically avoid communicating about taxes and budgets, leaving that challenging work to budget policy experts. Recognizing the need for a broad and ongoing culture shift that breaks out of issue silos, Topos has made tax and budget policy a […]

The Arts as a Public Good

Topos strategic paradigm shift for the arts focuses on how to shift people’s thinking about the arts from a private good to a public good. Our research finds that according to the Cultural Common Sense “the arts” is an elite pursuit, a luxury, that should be paid for through ticket prices (as a market good) […]

Seeing Prostitution

Embedded in the popular imagination as “the world’s oldest profession,” prostitution continues to be very visible in our society. Yet there had been little research into how the public actually thinks about this issue and what, if anything, they think we can or should do about it. Topos research provides the most comprehensive view of […]

Reclaiming Government

For nearly two decades, Topos has been raising the alarm about Americans’ distance from government and working with advocates to reclaim it. Not only have Americans lost confidence in government’s ability to act effectively to solve problems, they no longer see government as representing them. They don’t feel like citizens in a democracy, but like […]

Engaging on Race

Race is centered in all of our work. No matter the issue, race influences how people understand the problem and solution, and people of different backgrounds bring their own perspectives and life experiences to the dialogue. On a challenge as deeply rooted and complex as racism, multiple strategies are necessary. Different goals require different approaches: […]

Explaining How Things Work

Science and evidence-based decision-making have been under assault in recent years. Dueling scientists and propaganda cause confused citizens to opt out of the debate. A clear, simple understanding of the basic mechanism under debate goes a long way toward building public support for the right actions. Once people have learned something new, they can’t unlearn […]

Will COVID-19 Kill Trickle-Down Economics?

Trickle down…Bootstraps…these flawed mental models of the economy – most often used by those speaking from a conservative point of view – might, at long last, show signs of weakness, providing an opening for progressive models of the economy. Communicators can use this quick review of economic models to win arguments for progressive economic policies […]

Health Policy Lesson: Manage the Inevitable

Eat healthy. Exercise. Wash your hands. We have learned a lot of lessons about health and healthcare, and are learning new lessons now from the current crisis. But many of these lessons still feed into the deeply entrenched American assumption that health outcomes are all about the decisions we make as individuals. The current moment […]

Voting Rights: Full Participation

Voting rights advocates are moving quickly to advance a range of reforms that will protect and improve voting rights in light of COVID-19. As the specific policy agenda is taking shape, Topos research provides guidance in how to think about the narrative challenge. While the pandemic should be reason enough to enact pro-voter policies, forces […]

Storytelling in the COVID-19 Moment

Right now there’s lots of great advice about messaging in light of COVID-19 and about how to transform engagement strategies with social distancing in mind. In addition to these critical needs, there is an additional, overlooked need that we, progressive leaders, need to take on. NOW. We need stories that teach truth, create civic engagement, […]