by Jeff Swanson
Try this completely non-scientific experiment. Answer this simple question:
What does the GOP actually stand for?
Have an overflow of answers? A nice list of solid conservative principles? Your psyche brimming with a litany of reasons why it’s awesome being a Conservative Republican?
That’s the problem.
“I like to watch the Fox News Channel when things go badly for Republicans, so I’ve been watching the Fox News Channel a lot lately. I enjoy hearing the excuses that their commentators make for the GOP. The spin out of GOP-TV is that President Barack Obama won because voters are stupid, selfish, or sinful. Now, there’s a winning campaign message for you. Conservative columnist George Will said Sunday on ABC that the Republican Party must “quit despising the American people.” I knew that if I waited long enough, I would agree with Will on something.” stated Brad Bannon of USNews.
The rant of a lefty with standard anti-Fox vituperations? It’s easy for us rightward types to dismiss. There is a point in his column. It is largely the point I intend to make; the GOP does not have a single, clear message.
Depending on who you ask; the GOP is the party of social conservatism, the party of fiscal sanity, the party of law and order, the party of personal responsibility or the party of old men. White men for that matter.
I’d be willing to bet most Conservatives would agree with all but the last point. That’s the problem.
Ned Ryun of the Washington Times had this encapsulation, “We tried to convince Americans of Mitt Romney’s merits without a unified message, using the most annoying tactics possible: hundreds of thousands of demagogic ads and pestering robo-calls. That’s no way to build a movement.”
Ned is certainly on point; we are without a single, unified message.
As Republicans spend months beset with navel gazing, it is worthwhile to consider that even amongst the party loyal, no single one of us can really enumerate what is the rallying point for the GOP.
A recent Harvard Business Review article discusses this, “The single biggest driver of stickiness, by far, was “decision simplicity”—the ease with which consumers can gather trustworthy information…”
The authors further state, “Shifting the orientation toward decision simplicity and helping consumers confidently complete the purchase journey is a profound change, one that typically requires marketers to flex new muscles and rethink how they craft their communications.”
It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve said this; a party that fancies itself a home for the business sector, Republicans have a woeful understanding of simple Marketing 101 concepts.
Agree or not, the liberal Democratic Party has a simple, clear message; we believe government will help you. What’s the Republican single, simple and clear message?
Everything the Democratic Party says is in support of that simple message. Be it positive or negative messages, it supports the central concept.
While much of the discussion about connecting with minority voters is a substantive and important conversation, it is meaningless if the message doesn’t connect.
Over the upcoming months, the fits of Conservatives will focus on issues, direction of the party, broadening the base or connecting with undecided’s. Do we talk about immigration, gay marriage or abortion?
I think a rather unique perspective is provided by Artur Davis. Unique, in that he has been in the machine. He was centrally located within the Democratic Party. Finding himself more in line with the Republican Party, as we all well know, he officially moved to the GOP. Not that the GOP isn’t littered with former liberal folk, his was a recent change.
In writing about Romney’s recent loss, “Romney’s frustrations are the musing of a candidate legitimately perplexed by the Democrats’ ability to hold together a base that should have been frayed by the economic deterioration of the last four years….exactly how does a political majority keep intact when so many of its underlying policies aren’t exactly working in the interests of the coalition inside that majority?”
Artur further stated, “There is nothing untoward or unpredictable in electoral groups siding with a party that has pursued initiatives friendly to their interests…The more accurate assessment is that Democrats have stitched together a coalition that is linked less by dependency on government than by a shared perception of Republican and conservative insularity.”
In stitching together coalitions that often should not get along, Democrats have done so out of a single rallying concept. Consider that the Democratic coalition weaves together minority groups to whom religion plays a prominent role with those who historically are less so such as the gay community…and even atheists!
The problem is not with changing whom Republicans should be, to effectively change the soul of the party.
It’s the message, stupid.
There is nothing wrong with the product. It is a superior product. I mean, how do you argue the common sense of staying within a budget fer cry eye! It is the unmitigated failure to enumerate a single, simple message.
I had previously noted, “America wants to work. America was built by the strong hands, the gentle hands, the engineering hands, the teaching hands, the typing hands, the selling hands. America was built on the hard work of all Americans. By the simple idea that today, I can make the life for my family better than it was yesterday. Sure, this comes from entrepreneurs but it also comes from those who get up in the morning to build America one hour at a time.”
My intent is to point out that the Republican Party has so fractured itself from within, so much so that the factions of specials interests have forgone the single rallying cry of what made America great. Social issues are important. I would not suggest we jettison the Conservative social fabric.
Without a message that speaks to all people; a message that each of us, no matter our so-called identity, can prosper.
The internal fracturus nature of the current GOP rings the death knell of a dying breed. We can hold dear to those issues we find important. Should all those things we hold dear lead as the key Party message?
Democrats have not bothered with issues that separated their identity groups, Democrats focused on the commonalities. A single message. A simple message.
Where even a wrong message is simplified, it will be digested more easily than one that is right but unclear.