Monday, May 23


It's interesting the things you think of when you're under gas at the dentist's office. Saturday I started my reflections with the messaging initiative I'm working on at the office and I segued into thinking about the Democrats' failure to "get our message across" and the Republicans' success at it. In the former case, I think it's largely a function of not understanding what messaging IS. We spew out a lot of information at the public, but there's no real inspirational summary to tie it together. The Republicans, on the other hand, have proven very good at negative messaging -- e.g., "tax-and-spend liberals." They're great at demonizing and marginalizing, but they're not so shabby at positive messaging either. (Witness the "values" debate.)

With all the money we spend on advertising and marketing agencies, why hasn't someone come up with a pithy "We've got your back" kind of message. Or "The Republicans represent the upper 10% of the income bracket. We're looking out for the rest of you." Or "It's time to expect more." (More accountability. More access to healthcare. Etc.) We simply have to improve our positioning in the minds of the voting public. And we have to improve our negative messaging as well. "Who's lost more of your tax dollars?"

For well over a half century the Democratic Party was perceived as the party of the little people. Now the Rethugs have painted us, effectively, as the party of intellectual elitism. We need to return the favor. With the events of the past four years, we should hammer away at the Rethugs as the party of adventurism and cronyism, of wild impractical plans for world peace that ignore border security and the needs of the common man. I hate the politics of division, but never before has a party's policies so turned Robin Hood on its head, and we need to blanket the nation with that image.

It's all about branding -- shaping the perceptions of the public. There are experts in the field, and it's high time we put a few of the dollars we spend on political consultants into the practical exercise that has so benefited the Rethugs. They're business people, and they know how to condition the market. We're way behind, but if we don't start to catch up we're dead meat for the foreseeable future.


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