One is beginning to see some doubt and uncertainty creep into even the most confident pro-Blue Wave predictions for the Midterm elections this November.
In a recent New York Post column, CBS pollster Anthony Salvanto seems to conclude that a Midterm Blue Wave is unlikely. Salvanto projects: “Of the nation’s 435 House districts, fully 85 percent will almost certainly stick with its current party affiliation come November.”
Another warning sign: the Aug. 7 special election results in the Ohio 12th congressional district, a pro-Trump district. There, the energized Democratic candidate, Danny O'Connor, the Franklin County recorder, with all the juice the Democratic base could garner, still failed to beat the Republican state Sen. Troy Balderson even if it was only by one percentage point.
Democrats should be reminded that almost is only good in horseshoes and hand grenades and a win is still a win no matter what the losers tell themselves. Perhaps a real marketing plan rather than wishful thinking could have changed these results. But for now, it’s a case of “slow-and-steady wins the race,” along with the “old party tactics of getting the vote out,” as their Midterm mantra for the Blue Wave come this November.
Add to this, the dirty little secret that no one wants to discuss or has not yet been considered — Democrats are no longer the majority party but are in fact in the minority, accounting for only 30 percent of the voting electorate in the latest Gallup Poll of July 2018.
In this same poll, Republicans account for 26 percent of voter affiliation, while Independents hold a whopping 41 percent.
Quick math indicates that combining the Republican block with the Independent one yields a significant 67 percent of the electorate who do not identify with Democrats. From a marketing perspective, this is not a good thing. Democrats don’t have market share. From this point of view, when the only message is to resist — which appeals only to its base — then the other side, the Republicans, can focus on attracting independents.
Some will argue that the Republicans are so “out of touch” with most Americans that independents will never side with them and will eventually come to their senses and resist. Well, consider this. When a party has only a 30 percent share of the market, the other side, the Republicans can afford to alienate half of the independents and still win any given race.
A warning to Democrats: it’s not only about you and your base. It’s about the majority in a given district that really counts. And just maybe, everyone isn't as angry with Trump and the Republicans as they think.
As mentioned in last week’s column, “The Generic Ballot Doesn't Matter for Midterms — It's the Marketing,” the 2018 Midterms maybe an anomaly regarding Presidents losing seats in their first term in office. This election cycle could well be more consistent with what happened in 1934 with FDR (and the Depression) and 2002 with George W. Bush (and the 911 Attacks) rather than the traditional wisdom of the party occupying the presidency losing seats. Consider that in these two periods, 1934 and 2002, Americans looked for problems to be solved by the party in power. In that vein, perhaps 2018 will be more like these two years than other election cycles which the Beltway talking heads love to focus on.
One must give the Democrats and their promoters credit for trying to use marketing and branding to create a need for change with their Blue Wave brand. The only issue is whether their passion for resistance will translate into votes this coming November. Being energized from a marketing and branding perspective shouldn’t be enough, but could be politically sufficient. A better-recommended strategy as mentioned in a previous column is utilizing marketing and branding at the district level.
It might be helpful for us to remember what George Orwell once said regarding political language: “It is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectful.” Perhaps both sides will then appreciate these words and realize that it is always easier when you have marketing and branding in mind.
Dr. John Tantillo is a marketing and branding expert, known as The Marketing Doctor. JT utilizes his doctoral skills in applied research psychology to analyze the issues and personalities of the day utilizing his marketing and branding lens. This provides his readers with additional insight needed to understand the “new normal” in politics, news, and culture. Dr. Tantillo is the OpEd writer for Political Vanguard. He is the author of "People Buy Brands, Not Companies,” and the Udemy course "Go Brand Yourself!" You can follow him on Twitter @marketingdoctor and at Facebook.com/dr.johntantillo. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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