The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is happening this weekend in Florida, and as usual, it’s a who’s who of Republicans and conservatives. Even Donald Trump will be speaking.
As I was regretting my inability to attend, I was looking at the conference session agenda, and not at all surprised to learn that there was not one session on marketing. Not. One.
I guess, you could argue for two possibilities:
- Front Porch Politics: How to talk about issues without starting a back alley brawl, featuring Scott Presler (who’s out there doing the hard work and making things happen)
- Red Votes, Blue Votes: How to win new votes
Neither session has a synopsis on the main page, though I’m sure there’s more detail somewhere. But I think it’s safe to assume that neither session addresses the myriad of conservative marketing issues they must overcome to succeed.
I’ve written on many occasions that the Republican Party has the worst marketing department in the history of marketing departments. Compounding the error, they have one of the best products in the history of civilization: liberty and freedom.
When I look at the agenda for CPAC, I see an organization of conservatives making the same assumptions and mistakes they’ve been making for decades. They assume Americans know what they’re talking about and agree. They never take steps to explain, articulate, or clarify their positions. They show no aggression or inclination to sell their ideas or define who they are.
This allows Democrats to do it for them, and Democrats are more than happy to oblige. While conservatives are out there thinking they’re winning points by complaining and pointing out the logical flaws of yesterday’s Democrat initiatives, the Democrats are out there defining conservatives as white supremacist, conspiracy theorist, domestic threats who must be rounded up and not given any access to communication channels.
Conservatives need a powerful marketing apparatus if they are ever going to gather the masses who would otherwise be inclined to join them – if they only knew who conservatives are and what they really believe.
As a career marketer who’s won international awards and enjoyed much success, I’ve offered my services to some prominent conservatives, and none even understood what I was talking about.
The only marketing initiative conservatives ever had, Rush Limbaugh, is now gone. They don’t have any one who can highlight and explain where Democrats are trying to take society and where we need to be going to preserve it.
Many would point to Donald Trump, and while he’s certainly willing to say things other conservatives are afraid to say, he doesn’t really understand conservatism, per se, and as Rush Limbaugh himself pointed out on several occasions, Trump, like most conservatives, assumes his audience knows what he knows and doesn’t explain the context or backstory to what he’s discussing.
Democrats are always on offense and always aggressively and unapologetically reaching out to people on an emotional level to win them over. They’re happy to define conservatives and control the message while contrasting those racist cretins with their own virtuous positions.
And unless something changes soon, conservatives will just let them.
Perhaps at next year’s CPAC… when I’ll be speaking.