The Democrats are truly pathetic when it comes to marketing and branding. I suppose that is one of the reasons I like them as I don’t trust any political organization that is just too slick at marketing arts with no substance behind the rhetoric. Perhaps their deficiencies are due to the fact that Democrats are not a homogeneous well-choreographed party machine that marches in one direction, like Republicans do even if it is off a cliff. Instead, Dems are a fragile loosely-coupled coalition of special interests that sometimes overlap but are going every which way most of the time with a cast of characters and distributed leadership. And of course we Dems reject overly strong authoritarian leaders in our own party while prematurely canceling out flawed shepherds who may have relatively minor shortcomings compared to Republicans.
Say what you want about President Trump and Republicans – and I have plenty of times in the Bearing Witness Heartland Trump blog these past 43 months – but they are masterful at picking one theme and building a brand around it with relentless, shameless, ruthless fervor. Everyone knows that Trump wants to Make America Great Again and that now he along with most Republicans are running as the Law and Order regime. Of course Trump has made America anything but great again and his White House may go down as the most lawless and out-of-order administrations we have had in our country’s history.
But this just proves how astute Republicans are at marketing. They can sell one thing and deliver the exact opposite all while making their customers come back begging for more! Republican party leaders so believe in the power of their dollars and messaging, including gullibility of the electorate to their constant lying, that they didn’t even bother to come up with a platform of policies at the recent Republican National Coronation.
With less than two months left to go to the fall election can anyone tell us, in less length than a PhD dissertation, what the Biden-Harris campaign theme is focused upon and what the Democrats promise to do for America? If you ask 100 Americans you will get 100 answers. If you ask 100 self-identified Democrats you will likely get 200 answers as each respondent will waffle back and forth, intellectually debating the issues within themselves.
We rightfully should be proud to be the party of health care for all, public education, racial justice, worker’s rights, living minimum wage, reducing gun violence, voting rights, restoring international alliances, women’s reproductive rights, humane immigration, preserving Medicare and Social Security, expanding Medicaid, international diplomacy, respecting science, protecting the environment, stopping climate change, and much more. But that list of past accomplishments and future aspirations does not make for good marketing, especially with an electorate that struggles to hold a single thought in their mind as they endlessly swipe through social media feeds.
Despite all this, it seems that the Republicans have given Democrats the gift of a lifetime that we may never have again, especially if we lose our democracy to an autocrat with family members in waiting. There should be nothing more obvious and important that the Democrats have the rare opportunity to run as the only patriotic party that is defending democracy. Yes, running so far to the right of the Republicans that we come full circle to our left.
Democrats Defending Democracy, from enemies within and out, is an overarching narrative that every Dem should be able to agree upon and support regardless of their special interest that brings them under the big unruly tent. And that charge at this moment in our country’s increasingly fragile condition is far more important than any other single challenge or combination of issues the country is facing.
Does that mean the Republicans are not for democracy? Just look at the last four years at not only their words and tweets but their commissions and omissions. President Trump and his sycophant shills have attacked the free press, asked Russians for help, befriended dictators and despots, committed domestic crimes, condoned war crimes, stacked the courts, gerrymandered congressional districts, reversed petition-driven state initiatives, suppressed voting, hijacked the Justice Department, disregarded intelligence reports, obstructed investigations, ignored subpoenas, deployed federal forces on peaceful protesters, divided the country, glorified the military, dismantled consumer protections, gave corporations person-hood, stripped powers of elected offices kicked out of, broken international alliances, disparaged war veterans, failed to champion human rights, called white nationalist terror groups good people, and of course attacked, threatened, mocked, bullied, and demeaned fellow Americans, even within their own party, and even while standing on a world stage next to Putin. They are no longer acting like patriots nor are they protecting our democracy.
But in the post-truth era does this even matter? As Republicans and their propaganda media channels like Fox News prove every election they can call Democrats socialists and communists who hate America, all without any evidence, and get away with it. Just read what all the speakers said about Democrats and Joe Biden during the RNC in this recent Bearing Witness to Trump post. And yet some Dems running for office, especially in red states, act like they are too uncertain of the truth, timid in their tone, or scared of their shadow to call out their opponents as cultists, autocrats, racists, xenophobic, treasonous, fascists, or kleptocrats who want to plunder the republic and corrupt democracy from within. The silence to call Trump out for his attacks on democracy by not only most Republicans but many Democrats serves only to appease the rise of evil and impending savagery that he has unleashed upon the country.
Please, DNC Leadership, spend those hundreds of millions of dollars telling Americans succinctly who you are, what you stand for, and what you will do. The fewer the words the better. If not Democrats Defending Democracy, then come up with something much much better. Make your expensive election marketing consultants earn their keep. I just hope they are not secret Republican plants within your campaigns as the poor election performance from previous years led me to conclude.