The title of this post applies whether Obama or McCain gets elected. America has moved a long way from its independent roots, and its health is planted in self-reliant individualism, not mutually dependent collectivism. Neither McCain nor Obama will move far from a collectivist government. The only difference is that McCain wants to spend less on it.
Institutions, such as TV, newspapers, colleges and universities, and government, all lean pretty substantially toward collectivism and these institutions promote any material or person that supports their point of view.
Late night TV criticizes Republicans more than Democrats by a 7-1 ratio. The Daily Show? Colbert? Lampooning the right as much as possible. The ratio there is likely even more lopsided.
Libertarians, conservatives, and any other non-liberal/non-progressive types won't get hired into those domains to make any dent in this institutional thrust to the left. The one area where libertarians and conservatives do have a dominance is radio, and the Democrats want to revive the Fairness Doctrine, a mandate that would require radio stations to give equal time to the right and the left on the air. Except that the left won't apply this same standard to TV, newspapers, colleges and universities, or the hiring of government employees.
It's a narrow space these days to have a freedom-loving voice.
In the election cycle, Republicans employed brute-force marketing. Robocalls, door-to-door visits, mail, email, TV commercials, radio spots, and sound bite debates that don't inform at all. Is that the way to do this? Does it help? I'd say no, that a smooth-talking, inexperienced, anti-American-friendly candidate stands a good chance of beating a guy who is uber-qualified to be president. Republicans suck really bad at marketing and communication.
So how to do it better?
Let me ask it a different way... would you want any of the following done to you:
Isn't the goal of an election to attract people to the candidate? So what's attractive in the list above? Who would sign up to receive any of that?
- Someone coming to your door to talk about the election?
- Incessant mailers?
- Non-stop TV commercials with menacing tones?
- Radio spots with menacing tones?
- Watching sound bite debates that don't inform anyone?
That right there ought to be the standard for any communication. That's Marketing 101.
So what is attractive?
Forget trying to get the news networks to grant an interview like they would give the other guy. Ain't gonna happen.
- Amazing feats
Instead create things that attract people to them, that can be enjoyed at a time convenient to them, that they want to show their friends and family. It's why I've started doing cartoons. I'm not saying I'm good at it, but I am applying myself to it. A cartoon can be absorbed in 10 seconds, and if it's funny or entertaining or amazing, it can be forwarded instantly via email to others. Remember the popularity of JibJab in the 2004 election? How about YouTube in this election? The MyObama blog network was good for Obama.
I don't think Americans are stupid. I do think Republicans are stupid at marketing. When you think of a marketer, is he or she a Democrat or a Republican? You guessed correctly - thanks for playing.
Let's be attractive and educate an attracted audience. Rush and Glen Beck do it every day. I listen to them because they're funny and entertaining and they're educational. I don't listen to Hannity because he's nothing but a big negative ad that repeats the same five phrases over and over. I don't learn anything except how to shut off my radio.
Glenn Reynolds is an expert editor, highlighting just enough of others' work to make it interesting yet he's informative enough to help you decide whether to click through for more detail. And he's headed in the right direction with PJTV online.
So what if we had a creative bank of people to help attract an audience? Video, cartoons, art, photos... and what if we made it all accessible, easily shared and forwarded?
What if there was a -gasp- cultural community among the right?
There's an old saying in retail: the longer they're in the store, the more likely they are to buy. It's why I have a number of different things to do here on beatcanvas. You can create and send an e-card, browse the gallery, browse and participate in the blog, play a word game, see how many days you've been alive...
To help interest people, we need to be more interesting. At their speed, not ours. Not lectures, but discovery. And we need to let them participate once they come in.
How does the right organize a community that attracts others to it? Because frankly, we can laugh at a community organizer - until what he's accomplished isn't funny any more. Time to get serious about the game of attraction. Casually aloof doesn't help get our country back.