I wrote in here a few days ago that the Republican brand is based on three big lies, but in fairness we should talk about the Democratic brand too. Unfortunately, all I can say is that the Republican brand may be in the toilet, but at least they have a brand.
I tried to figure out what the Democratic brand is, but the best I could come up with is “we aren’t the Republicans” or perhaps the popular Democratic phrase “big tent” (which I suppose means “we’ll take anyone, who isn’t Republican”). Look at the Democrats’ big slogan during the election — “Change”. Change from what? Why the Republicans of course.
So why is being the opposite of the Republican party a problem for the Democrats? Because it means that the Democrats are allowing the Republicans to define their brand. In the previous post I defined the three big lies that make up the Republican brand. If the Democratic brand is just the opposite, then this is what they get:
- If the Republicans are the party of fiscal conservatives and smaller government, then this leaves the Democrats with being the “tax and spend” and “big government” party. See what I mean?
- And if the Republicans are the party of social conservatives and religious fundamentalists, are the Democrats left with being the sacrilegious wanton libertine party?
- Finally, if the Republicans are pro-business and for free markets, then it only follows that the Democrats are socialists. Sound familiar?
One of the successful tactics used by the Republicans is to attack opponents on their strengths. So if Obama attracts big crowds, call him a celebrity. Or if Kerry is a war hero, then swift-boat him by attacking his military service. Democrats should return the favor and attack the Republicans on their (claimed) strengths:
- When Republicans claim to be pro-business, point out that they only support the dinosaurs of the business world: big oil, failing banks, and so on. The Dems should brand themselves as being the party of innovation, new ideas and new businesses.
- When the Republican try to own moral issues, the Dems should be the party of social justice, while painting the Republicans as judgmental (it wouldn’t hurt to point out that it was Jesus who preached against judging others).
- When Republicans claim to be fiscal conservatives, attack them on their spendthrift ways and irresponsibility, and become the party of balanced budgets and fiscal responsibility.
The Democrats need to figure out their brand, and right now — while the Republicans are trying to salvage theirs — is a great time to do it.