Marketing a candidate is much like selling a product. Identify the target audience and understand its concern. Isolate the right strategy. Find the right media and a message that resonates with the audience.
But Democrats haven’t figured this out.
Imagine a struggling middle-class couple who care about grocery expenses and safety. They have no time to search for recycling centers or reduce their carbon footprint, don’t care about endangered tadpoles and can’t relate to LGBTQ issues – all favorite Democratic subjects.
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In California, it’s worse. That couple must now pay higher gas taxes to get to work. They get lectured about freedom and diversity, but Democrats support compulsory unions.
Good marketers always answer an essential question all consumers ask: “What’s in it for me?” Hillary Clinton (whom I voted for) campaigned on her résumé, but never got to what she would do for folks. Good marketers value a tagline that spotlights their product. No one forgot Donald Trump’s: “Make America Great Again.”
Why are Democrats inept marketers? They’re the party of workers, not business. Democrats love employment, but seem to hate employers. The data about white working-class voters and their feelings of being ignored have been growing for years. Did Clinton talk to any sociologists? Did anyone hand her a copy of “Hillbilly Elegy?”
Why are factories closing and workers unemployed? Every year, unions demand more. If they had any business sense, Democrats might ask unions to ease up. Democrats also didn’t score high with the military or vets last fall. It’s lower- and middle-class people who enlist. Liberals often target the military – bad marketing.
The Democrats have no national leader. That hard-working couple can’t relate to a liberal from San Francisco. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren or Maxine Waters? More bad images. Party officials should tell them to shut the hell up.
But Democrats won’t do that. They’re even worse at public relations.
Roger S. Peterson of Rocklin is past president of the American Marketing Association, Sacramento chapter. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.