Branding

In the aftermath of President Obama’s reelection, there is much discussion about the GOP’s need to “rebrand” itself.  Even though the vote was close, political sages say national demographic shifts are moving voters away from the GOP.  Next time could be even worse.

Rebranding is an interesting notion.  What do they mean?  Do they think the GOP should try a new color and replace the red State image?  Do they mean the GOP should adopt the naked Etch-A-Sketch approach Mitt Romney used?  (You know, just announce one day that you are for everything moderate and in the middle regardless of whether you have any intention of governing that way.)  Or do they mean change nothing and just spend more money to convince voters?

If rebranding means any of these, the GOP is in for more disappointment.  The country has and is continuing to change.  Social media coupled with the visual information age are distributing raw information more rapidly and broadly than ever before.  It is almost impossible for any politician to say something in public and not have those words spread on Facebook or Twitter, or repeated 1000’s of times on 7/24 cable news.  While the general public may not understand the many layers of any issue, they can recognize hypocrisy and they can detect policies that are not in their best interest.

The GOP brand needs, instead, to rethink what it stands for.  Is it the party of the rich?  Is it the party of fundamentalist religious groups?  Is it the “boot straps” party?

You can’t be successful calling for small government when to make it smaller means taking Medicare (health care) and Social Security away from the most vulnerable.  You can’t be successful calling for small government and then telling women what they can and cannot do with their bodies.  You can’t be successful calling for small government and demanding more defense spending.

There may very well be a place in politics for single issue parties, for example one that represents religious freedom issues.  A number of GOP candidates as well as Mitt Romney called for government to intervene in issues surrounding a woman’s right to choose.  Exit polls, however, indicate that 50% of catholic women voted for President Obama despite the Catholic Church hierarchy’s call for no birth control or abortions, full stop.  If that is the direction the GOP thinks is in its best interest, they may sleep better at night but they will continue to loose national political influence.

A new GOP brand might be possible if the Republican Party developed policies and programs to ensure the successful implementation of a few core issues.  Instead of trying to represent churches, the NRA, Wall Street, and the very wealthy, the GOP should begin to talk about balanced policies which were aimed at growing the economy, enhancing America’s global competitiveness, and enriching the everyday quality of life for ALL Americans.  Let the extreme factions of the current GOP go their own ways.  Cut back if necessary, but come back strong through focus on a few important issues.

That might produce a really interesting new brand.

 

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