For as long as I’ve been alive, the Democrats have been on offense, defining and branding the Republican Party as a home for wealthy, hate-filled, white male white supremacist racists, sexists, homophobes, and xenophobes. They had to change it a bit with the election of Trump – switching “wealthy” with “redneck.”
The Republican Party, home of the worst marketing department in the history of marketing, lies down and takes it, barely mustering a half-hearted “we are not,” every once in awhile. Always on defense and five steps behind, the Republicans always respond by presenting a logical argument illustrating why the Democrats are being hypocritical or just plain wrong.
While the Republicans are responding, the Democrats have already moved on to the next accusation, painting the Republicans as even worse than they said the last time. And the cycle continues.
If conservatives want to have any chance of defeating the Democrats and saving the country, as founded, they have to go on offense and start relentlessly defining the Democrats every day, every chance they get, for the next four years.
Defining the Democrat Party brand is fairly easy. If done well, they’ll walk right into it and reinforce it every chance they get. The measure of success will be that when people hear the phrase Democrat Party, it evokes one or more of the following impressions:
- Racist, or race-obsessed: The party has race on the brain. Everything that happens is viewed through the lens of race. Their first reaction to the Capitol break-in was, “if they had been black people.” They constantly talk about blacks as if they are helpless victims who can’t make their own decisions or get their own lives together. It is racist to obsessively see race. It’s time someone said it.
- Control freaks: What drives Democrats? Conservatives want freedom and liberty. That necessarily means giving up control and trusting people to do what’s best for them. Democrats can’t stand that. They have to control as many aspects of society as possible – what we eat, what we drive, where we live, what we buy, what we hear… everything. No one likes a micromanaging control freak. No one likes a Democrat.
- Miserable: Who complains more than a Democrat? It’s constant. They’re always unhappy and always aggrieved. Nothing makes them happy unless they’re making others miserable. Leaders try and elevate and aspire, but Democrats want to share the misery. Equality is achieved when all are equally unhappy.
- Pessimistic: When’s the last time you heard a Democrat talk about a path to greatness. Instead, they’re always telling us how bad it is. The economy, race relations, the plight of women, the environment, transgenders… whatever the subject, it’s not looking good. There’s no hope. No belief in our ability to achieve greatness. Their ability to manage our decline just isn’t that exciting.
- Thin-skinned: Life is full of hard knocks. It’s tough out there. Reality is always smacking us in the face and teaching us lessons. Democrats just can’t take it. Everything offends them, and they blow everything out of proportion. Many people use humor as a way of making light of a tough situation, but Democrats just double down and get twice as offended.
- Mean/arrogant: Democrats are constantly, ruthlessly attacking and making fun of some portion of Americans – white men, rural Americans, middle Americans, conservatives (including black, female, Hispanic, and/or gay conservatives), and any other group they see as uneducated or unsophisticated. If you don’t follow what they deem to be culturally important, you are a second class citizen.
- Intolerant: This one is their claim to fame, but it’s a lie. They simply cannot handle opinions that are not their own or people not like them. They’re quick to censor because they fear someone may come up with a better idea than theirs. If that happens, they lose control. It’s why conservatives are so dangerous to them. Conservatives speak their mind and aren’t (or shouldn’t be) afraid to say what they think. That is the most dangerous thing in the world for Democrats.
- Immoral: Democrats can claim nearly full credit for the cultural rot that has gripped this country. Name a deviant behavior, and Democrats are on the forefront. Drug use? Vandalism? Crime? Bullying? Selfishness? Lying? Cheating? They’ve mastered them all. As they walked away from religion, so did they walk away from morality. Everything is self-gratification. Everyone else be damned.
- Hypocritical: Granted, this one never sticks. This is the one lever Republicans continually try and pull. But they only use it as a defense. They need to go on offense with it. That needs to be part of everything they say when defining a Democrat. It’s always “do as I say, not as I do” with Democrats. The examples could fill the internet. But it will only work as an offensive weapon.
- Job-killers: Democrats have proven for the last 100 years that they have little understanding of how the economy works. They don’t believe in capitalism and instead seek to control. They believe by being in control, they can pull the right levers and control our national performance. We just witnessed in Biden’s first days how quickly they’re policies destroy jobs. They raise taxes, tighten regulations, and make it very difficult to for businesses to function – especially new and small businesses, who can’t afford all of their policy changes.
Of course, none of this will work if conservatives take their normal approach to interviews and public speaking.
They’re always reacting, and always steps behind the Democrats. Every time a Democrat says something about a Republican, the Republican always feels the need to prove them wrong by providing evidence to the contrary. But the Democrats don’t care.
While Republicans are standing there answering the charge, the Democrats are already out there, identifying the next big cultural issue, and accusing Republicans of being racist or uncaring in whatever way relates to the story.
Democrats are always on offense and always on message. Always. And they’re unified. It doesn’t matter which Democrat you talk to, they’ll all tell you the same thing, in mostly the same language.
As a marketer, one of our brand strength tests is to ask ten or more people who interact with a brand what it stands for. The more people who answer with the same message, the more successful the brand.
If you ask any Democrat about any issue, they will all give the same answer. Nearly always. They’re very well coordinated. They’re always on message. And they relentlessly bludgeon us with that message every hour of every day.
Though they all say the same thing, you also have to go after their personalities and render them unimportant and flaccid. The Democrat base loves a cult of personality. They’re heroes are their gods. Mocking them and attaching these labels will work.
The Republicans need to get ahead. Stop justifying, rationalizing, and explaining. Start getting ahead of events and proactively sticking labels to Democrats that they can’t defend. Make them start explaining themselves.
It’s going to be very difficult because the Democrats own the media and every other communication apparatus in the country. That’s why it has to be aggressive and constant. We can’t let up. We need to be proactive. Social media ads. Shared memes and posts. Television ads. Signage. T-shirts. Bumper stickers. These are all things Democrats have mastered. That has to change. Now.
If conservatives don’t start changing perceptions, they will always have a limited base and will ultimately fail against the Goliath that is the Democrat stranglehold on our culture.
If we learned nothing else from Trump, we should have observed that he was able to cut through the clutter because he was aggressive, he was effective, and he was right.
These brand elements will resonate with people because the labels, coupled with Democrat actions, can’t be denied. And it can be done with humor. Democrats don’t do well with being mocked. It gets them angry. If you get them angry, they’re reactive and off message.
This isn’t normally how conservatives are comfortable conducting themselves, but it has to happen, and it has to happen now.