Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren appeared on MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry along with Shelby Knox of Change.org on Saturday to discuss why Republicans are so good at setting the political agenda and why it may have backfired on them recently. In the video below, Dorian notes that on the right, "all it takes is one big fat guy with a microphone spouting off to set the agenda, but it takes thousands of people to come together for us to reset the agenda. That's the reality of grassroots politics."
Dorian argues that over the last 40 years, "Republicans have been better at all three faces of power" -- not just setting the agenda, but coercing people through the use of tools like Super PACs and influencing ideas with their free market rhetoric. But he notes that while dominant ideologies and institutions might seem too big or entrenched to change, "we always have to challenge reigning ideas that are oppressive" and "challenge those in power who are setting the agenda which is not in our interest." He cites the Occupy movement as one example of ordinary Americans coming together to take on titans like Bank of America.
Of course, as Republicans have learned all too well through their attempt to exhume the long-buried contraception debate, "you never know when you're agenda-setting what the backlash might be."