The LA Times has an interesting report on the record voter turnout we’re seeing in primaries, and in particular the lopsided increase in turnout on the Democratic side.
The article has some interesting facts and figures, but it pretty much bears out what I said last week – that if you have good candidates who aggressively campaign on issues and ideals that people actually care about, people vote. Who told?
(Oh, and I find it equally amazing that Sen. Obama has been able to run an incredibly close race fueled mostly by small to mid-sized donations…while lefty champions are once again left in the dust.)
It’s a stark contrast to the mind numbingly stupid elections we had in Supposedly Liberal Brainiac San Francisco, where “progressives” had a FAIL so complete and total, turnout was in the toilet. And now, of course, the progressives are crying about the Mayor’s shenanigans, not realizing that if they’d just bothered to run a real candidate, the election might have had a different outcome. Boo hoo for them.
Most importantly, these record turnouts of voters are coming out without any of the lefty electoral gimmicks out-of-state reformers are trying to peddle across the country as ways to “increase turnout.”
It’s really simple, people. If you run a good campaign, you win the election. If you inspire people to action, they act. If you listen to people and talk about the issues they actually care about, they get excited and feel like politics is an opportunity for change – not just a tired exercise that people don’t feel matters to them.
There’s a chance that local “progressives” might take a lesson from all of this in the upcoming elections in November, and perhaps try strategies that don’t involved running around in circles, gossiping like junior high girls in gym class, and whining.
News flash, progressives: THIS DOESN’T F*CKING WORK. Stop trying to game the electorate with phony reform bullsh*t. Run on a vision and an agenda that works for the citizens who actually vote in elections, and you might win. If nothing else, it would be an improvement over last year’s “act like gossiping dorks” strategy.
The real winner will be the voters of San Francisco, if they’re given an honest race between various factions who all strive to offer a cohesive vision of policy and politics for the next four years. We’ll see what happens.
Although I work on primarily political campaigns, I try to read as much as I can about “real” advertising, since the political consulting industry can sometimes get a bit static. We tend to use the same ideas over and over because they usually work – and no one wants to go out on a limb (especially clients) and try some crazy new idea and lose and be “the guy who sank the campaign with the weird idea.”
That’s unfortunate, because to reach people today you have to speak their pop culture “language” and compete with thousands of messages from “real” advertisers. If you always hit them with “red white and blue,” they tune out. At the same time, unlike “real” advertisers, we can’t sell 365 days of the year so the tendency to stay the course is understandable.
One of my favorite places to catch up on all things ad and design related are the Under Consideration constellation of websites, and in particular, their Brand New blog which chronicles the retooling of corporate logos and brand identity.
Most recently, they wrote about the remake of the Life Savers logo and packaging which was fascinating. Almost everyone knows what Life Savers are – little hard candies that haven’t change that much for decades. Thus, how do simple sugary candies stand out in an era where everything marketed has to be “xtreme” or “totally awesome” and as loud as possible?
The folks at Wrigley’s figured it out – rather than compete on the same level as all the trendy fad candies, coming up with zany flavors, they decided to play to their strength – simplicity. In a crowded aisle full of colorful packaging the Life Savers candy bags – with their simple depiction of just one BIG picture of the candy – stand out.
In politics, sometimes you have to do the same thing to win and get your message out. There was a school of thought (especially in Democratic circles) that to win against the “other side” one had to pre-empt them on “their” issues by making them “yours” as well, so you couldn’t be attacked – you were “innoculated.” (Just take a trip in the Wayback Machine to 1984 and 1988, and you can see why people thought this might be a good idea.)
While that strategy might have made sense in the late 80s and early 90s, as it was with folks like former DLC chairman Bill Clinton when they ran for President, it’s not entirely foolproof. If politicians compete to be more and more alike, the result is often mushy rhetoric that sounds “phony” to the average voter.
Sometimes if you really want to distinguish yourself and your message, you have to stop competing with your opponent on their terms, and redefine the argument to your strengths instead. Plus it has the added benefit of being a bit more honest.
It’s funny how a piece of candy can teach you a lesson about politics. The question is, which Presidential candidates are learning the lesson, and which aren’t?
I guess we’ll see on Tuesday! Don’t forget to vote!
I was wondering how the Clinton campaign would invent a new way to fumble the ball this late in the game, and in today’s Yahoo News, I found it, front and center. It seems Mrs. Clinton would garnish your wages if you chose not to buy private health insurance in her “health care plan.”
This is not unusual for mainstream Democrat politicians – Clinton supporter (and Corporate Shill) Fabian Nunez, who is Speaker of the California Assembly, supported a similar idea for Californians. It’s one of those things people who don’t have to pay taxes or worry about bills support because it seems right – not realizing that if “health insurance” was affordable, the people that can’t afford it would have it. Do we really need to put the Institute of No Duh on the payroll with Democrats?
Maybe so. Maybe it’s also time to call BS on a few things – namely that the very concept of the insurance business is to get you to pay for something you’re not likely to use much. Insurance companies have spent decades, nay 100s of years working out risk analysis so that they can make money. That’s what businesses do, and that’s also why insurance companies are good investments.
Now, that model is a terrible one for providing health care – since an insurance company’s primary function is to make money and kick out overly risky folks, not take care of ’em. It’s also why using the government to impose what is essentially a payroll tax on your take home pay and force you to buy private insurance (or use the power of the government to punish you with jail time if you fail) is a terrible idea.
Plenty of other countries have seemed to figure out a way to provide at least some level of health coverage for their populations, and while no system is perfect, there’s really no way anyone can argue we’re doing any better.
The entire “health” industry is essentially a check cashing business – you send them a check, they cash it, then they do nothing for you when you need health care. Most Americans have figured this out. You’d think the Democrat candidate with “experience” might have figured that out too.
But then again, life’s pretty good when you’ve got government health care for life, and you don’t have to pay for it. Now where do we get jobs like that?
Thanks to The Internets, I was able to see my good friend Jim Spencer of The Campaign Network on the Daily Show, even though I don’t presently have cable.
Jim’s a great guy and one of the best political consultants in the country, and has run some pretty amazing campaigns over the years. I worked with him when we both worked at The Big Company I Can’t Name, and later in 2003, I spent a summer working for his firm in Boston which was quite fun. Here you can see the view from the company’s offices in Boston.
And, thanks to Comedy Central, you can see the video, and learn a little about direct mail! Check it out! (link fixed…)
The funny thing about living in San Francisco is that to the outside world, folks seem to assume this is some sort of Greenie Communist Disneyland, with abortions on demand at every corner, parades in honor of Lenin and Ho Chi Minh, and so on.
Even here in town, you have people that parachute in here, thinking that we’re the capital of the left, and some of even carpetbag themselves into a Congressional run, thinking that they’re in Liberal Lefty Nirvana.
Bzzt! Wrong again!
I say this because as we close in on a Mega Super Happy Fightingest Primary Ever, and Democratic voters try to decide Which Candidate to Vote For, something has been coming up, time and again in conversations I have with Real San Franciscans: a lot of people here will vote for McCain, mostly if Sen. Clinton is the nominee.
It’s really weird. These are not discussions with political folk per se, these are chats with good people of various ages, ethnic backgrounds and whatnot who really live here, and it keeps coming down to something folks really want – after 8 years of the GW Wrecking Crew and 6 years of a GOP congress, this country not only needs a political colonic to flush out the toxins of the past, but also move forward and push aside the professional screamers and assorted idiots that poison politics and get sh*t done.
And for some reason, folks seem to think that Sen. Obama might be the kind of guy who can do such a thing, but they don’t see Hillary (or is it Bill and Hillary) and the politics of the 90s being the way to go, and as such would bolt to McCain in a second.
Read that again. San Franciscans, who are alleged to be godless hippie Communists, will vote for John McCain, pro-life record or not.
Kinda freaky when you re-read it, huh?
And now the punchline – I’m not so sure I won’t be one of them. I know full well the many many problems with McCain’s past, many of his stands on issues are diamertically opposed to my own, and God, the thought of actually voting for a presidential candidate that is in the same party as President 28% and Vice President Vader still gives me the shakes.
At the same time, however, Sen. McCain has been one of the few Washington politicians who has stood up for a rational immigration policy (something of interest to my neighbors out here in the Sunset as well as folks on the east side of town).
And, unlike the Clintons in the 90s, McCain does not see Indian tribes as cash machines for political soft money donations, but instead has tried to force the inherently stupid Department of the Interior to settle the trust lawsuit that was filed to force the feds to admit they stole from millions of people for over 100 years. And up against a more Democratic Congress, a President McCain would be more likely to work with a Speaker Pelosi or a Majority Leader Reid, vs. say a President Guy Smiley (Romney).
Heresy, I know. But people are more concerned about just what kind of country we’ll have, and want to see action, not more shenanigans. President Clinton II or President Romney is more of the same old bullsh*t.
At least with Sen. Obama we might have someone who could try and bring people together, and work with folks (and hopefully a Congress populated with more REAL Democrats to back up Our Speaker ).
But a lot of people are starting to think that if it’s a McCain/Hillary contest, things could go bad, and if even us hippies in San Francisco are thinking about McCain as a legitimate choice, it’s time to take a Clue Pill and try to not invent a new way to f*ck up what should be our chance to set things right.
UPDATE: Yet another reason Democrats should fear McCain. The famous button of the early 90’s “Oh God PLEASE Not Another Republican” seems appropo.
(I won’t deny that it doesn’t hurt that Sen. McCain and Sen. Kennedy honored my cousin Helen, who passed away in 2006, honoring her tireless honesty, fairness, and trailblazing career as a woman journalist in DC. That said, it’s not the ultimate reason, but in the interests of full disclosure bla bla bla, I thought I’d mention it.)