It’s so strange how Democrats were damn-near orgasmic during their prognostications of Donald Trump’s Presidential candidacy pulling the Republican Party through a mortal journey of permanent irrelevance — and then see Trump not only assume the left-for-dead party’s leadership role, but also become elected President of the United States.
I’m sure Democrats told you to blame Hillary Clinton’s loss on protest votes, apathetic hipsters and shiftless Black folks who showed up to the polls in lower numbers this year because a Brother is no longer running for office, but allow me to remind you that every election presents a common challenge: mobilizing as many of your targeted populations as possible to hit the polls.
Some of you even blamed the fake Hillary stories posted to Facebook.
At the risk of pissing off plenty of Democrats, how about this for a reason: Trump executed his voter activation plans while Clinton did not.
Yes, I completely get that voter suppression is alive and well.
But Clinton couldn’t even win her home state on Election Day!
The hard truth is that Team Trump outmarketed the Clinton campaign.
Successful political campaigns are arguably more focused on marketing fundamentals than business management ever will be.
Customers (voters) have a problem or challenge (issue), and are in search of a solution (candidate). It’s up to the solution providers (political parties) to create compelling and resonating marketing messages so easy to understand where customers can recite the messaging points while sleeping.
So, what were Clinton’s simple and resonating points this year?
Before you answer, allow me to summarize Trump’s:
You’re facing an unfair system that doesn’t care about you and your family.
You don’t believe the Establishment has rigged the game against you? Look at your wallets. Look at your disappearing jobs.
Crooked Hillary is part of that establishment. She’s been in politics for three decades. What has she done for you?
Our way of life is being threatened by people who are in this country illegally and wish to harm us.
I can fix this. I have experience in solving big problems. I will help you and your family succeed.
Let’s make America great again.
See? True or not, Trump delivered simple, innard-punching messages.
Okay, back to you Clinton supporters — what was her simple, resonating message for prospective voters?
She didn’t have one. And neither did the rest of her party.
And that’s why Democrats were pimp-stomped out of Congress AND the White House this year.
I’m sure this is the point where Democrats will argue with me about the parts of Trump’s lies that are bigger than others.
But doing so means they’re missing two huge points.
First, of course marketing messages should be true, but I would imagine that many politicians would worry more about making the messages relevant to the way their audiences think and live.
Second, it’s time to be real — some of what Trump said, particularly about the economy, is true.
Are you in denial with the other Democrats? Have you noticed that the poverty rate in this country, while decreasing, is still near record highs nearly eight years after the 2008 financial crash?
Can’t completely blame the recession’s long tail on partisan obstruction. Democrats controlled both Congress and the White House after 2008 and blew their chances to push through aggressive economic recovery policies. I specifically remember reading about how President Obama stubbornly, if not belligerently, resisted proposing a larger stimulus package — against the advice of his economic team and others. He even proposed a lower amount than what the Senate and House were willing to authorize.
That unfortunate decision, including the schema used to distribute stimulus funds, arguably played a large role in giving this recession a longer life.
Empty wallets mean pissed-off voters later …
Even disgraced DNC Insider Donna Brazile admitted that the Obama recovery was shallow, if not a downright farce.
Okay, Brazile did not willingly admit that to you — it took a Wikileaks disclosure to learn the truth. More on that later.
Going back to the recovery, think about the nice young lady at Starbucks who served you that pumpkin spice latte this morning. There’s a good chance she was an office manager who had a higher income a few years ago.
Low unemployment but lower wages have been the unfortunate theme of the Obama recovery.
So don’t blame the voter for why your product didn’t take off — despite unprecedented, one-sided mass media support, coupled with a political party determined to suppress the rise of a viable presidential candidate in favor of the one who eventually lost this past Tuesday.
Blame the product. Blame the messaging. Blame the solution provider. Blame eight years of a lame economic recovery. Blame those Saturday night primary debates. The Democratic party failed.
Yeah, yeah, Democrats will once again push back and tell me about the 46% of registered voters who didn’t come to the polls.
There’s no guarantee Democrats would have captured enough of that 46% to take the White House and Congress. But a more important point many Democrats appear unwilling to face is that Donald Trump’s message was able to galvanize the people he needed to get elected.
Let’s stress the last point differently and bust the jaw of that “apathy” argument — Trump found a way to sufficiently beat his party’s apathy challenge, and the Democrats did nothing about their own.
Trump’s marketing message engaged working class White families to vote where many of its men were reactivated from their years-long dormant political state.
And what about Clinton’s activation message, or problem, with the 46%?
Saying “America has never stopped being great”? Sorry, but Trump dictated that one.
I know, the next response is that “Voters should see the importance of voting… it’s their right … people gave their lives for voting rights … ”
I get it. I really do. But ignoring the fact that the Democrats presented a highly unlikeable candidate who didn’t have a clear message to activate audiences is being intellectually dishonest.
“Oh, but you forget that she’s a woman, and that’s why America tuned her out” is the next response.
I understand that as well, but will respond with my refrain of the day: look at the Trump messaging points I mentioned earlier, and then tell me about the simple resonating message Democrats used to activate voters. It doesn’t exist.
But let’s run with that “America isn’t yet ready for a woman” argument and remove Clinton from the 2016 equation. What male candidate, aside from Bernie Sanders since most Democrats didn’t seem to want him, would have activated the necessary voters to beat Trump?
My quick scan says no one.
Which brings up another point: the Democratic Party lacks leadership bench strength.
“But Trump’s supporters are racists!” Democrats argue.
You’re absolutely right. But that point is irrelevant here. Trump used racism as a tactic to mobilize voters. I’ll repeat this for the hard-headed: Trump mobilized voters. Democrats did not.
Instead of blaming the people who didn’t vote or show interest in Democratic candidates, the party should admit to what it’s now become: a cavernous mouthpiece for working families and an unrecognizable shill for free trade agreements, banksturbation (yep), bad-behaving state sponsors and endless wars.
If the party aspires to be anything regular people can relate to, the following four solutions can help.
First, restructure the Democratic Party, which includes getting rid of its current leadership and surrogates.
Second — assuming you’re not convinced to carry out the first solution — read those Wikileaks emails about Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation and the Democratic National Committee.
Third (surprise, surprise) — create a resonating marketing message.
The fourth solution will be the most difficult: Democrats need to figure out what it loves most — money from the Hamptons-Hollywood-Nantucket wings of the party, votes from working class families or a solution that embraces both groups.
The correct answer means a realization that there’s plenty of ideological cleansing to do …
song currently stuck in my head: “jesus children of america” – soulive