An Open Letter to the Democratic Party

Dear Democratic Party,

I am a loyal and dedicated member who is dismayed year after year as the conservative movement takes a stronger foothold in this country.  For the last 20 years, people have abandoned the Democratic Party due to the strong marketing campaign by the conservative right that convinces people to vote against their best interest.  I astounds me how this works year after year.  Something needs to be done to turn this around.

There have been many books written on the issues of why people vote against their best interest. There’s the infamous:

200px-WhatsthematterwithkansasWhat’s the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America (2004) is a book by American journalist and historian Thomas Frank, which explores the rise of populist anti-elitist conservatism in the United States, centering on the experience of Kansas.

And another not as well known book where the voter is classified more as inattentive and ignorant rather than stupid such as the title suggests:

indexJust How Stupid Are We? Facing the Truth About the American Voter is a political book by author Rick Shenkman.  The book argues that although the American government has gained global political power since the late 19th century, American voters have become increasingly ignorant of politics and world affairs, and are dangerously susceptible to political manipulation.

Video interview with the author Rick Shenkman on The Alcove with Mark Molaro.  It is about 30 minutes in length, but very interesting.

These books make valid points about how the voting public is uniformed and inattentive.  They discuss why voters chose simplistic issues to base their votes on rather than being more informed.

I am writing to ask the Democratic Party to seriously think about changing your messaging in the next election cycle.  What has been done in the past 20 years has not been enough to counter the republican spin machine.  The Democratic Party has always held most of the labor vote, the women’s vote and the academic ‘so called’ elite vote, but it falls short with the middle class vote at times.  The Republicans have made a large group of liberal leaning and independent voters feel embarrassed to proclaim that they are a Democrat or to want to vote democratic.

I say this because of my experience with some of my friends and colleagues who say they vote Republican, but when pressed for their views on the issues they clearly identify with the liberal side.  When I point that out to them and ask why they aren’t voting for the Democrat, they say oh no ‘I’m a Republican’.  They say this as if being a Republican is reputable, but being a Democrat is not.  Some identify as an Independent but have never and probably never would vote for anyone other than a Democrat.  So why don’t they just call themselves a Democrat?   It is all about perception.

Now most of these friends and colleagues of mine who claim this, are middle class individuals who may or may not have gone to college.  They seem to think that their status in life aligns with being a Republican/Independent and never will with being a Democrat.  I believe that they think this way because honestly the Democratic message is never pitched to them directly.

The Democrats pitch their message to all the different social groups: LGBT, African American, labor/union groups, the poor, etc., but never to the ordinary middle class  directly.  The days of the labor/union vote, which is shrinking every year, carrying the Democratic candidates to victory are in the past. The Democratic Party needs the middle class to be part of the party once again and to be proud of it.

My idea is this.  The Democratic Party needs to start a campaign that makes it desirable to stand up and declare that ‘I am proud to be a Democrat’.  There should be two types of advertising campaigns, using both print and TV commercials that would show the pride in being a Democrat.

Professional who are proud to be a Democrat Campaign

dem donkeyThe commercials would show a professional, with their name and occupation stating a democratic party value and that they are “Proud to be a Democrat”.

Example 1 Picture of a pharmacist or nurse or doctor,  Hi I’m Joe Smith, I’m a pharmacist/nurse/doctor, and I believe in the Affordable Care act.  I’m proud to be a Democrat.

Example 2 Picture of a scientist in a lab coat, Hi I’m Jane doe, I’m a molecular biologist and I believe that investments in medical research arenecessary and can save lives.  I’m proud to be a Democrat.

Example 3 Picture of a Business owner, Hi I’m Pat Jones, I’m a business owner and I am worried about income inequality.  Workers should be paid a decent wage and should have mandatory sick leave.  I’m proud to be a Democrat.

Example 4 Picture of a Farmer, Hi I’m Paul Tractor, I’m a farmer and I believe that genetically modified foods are bad for our health and the environment.   I’m proud to be a Democrat.

These are simple statements, but when repeated on a regular basis can have a real impact.  It can show that other professionals just like them , who think like them, are proud to be a Democrat. Do you remember the Chrysler Superbowl commercials (2011, 2012, and 2014) that showed the American pride for an American import?   That feeling you get when you watch these commercials is pride.  That’s the feeling we want people to feel.

Simplify the Messaging Campaign

Badge - 2008 electionThe second campaign would simplify the language of the issues.  Too many times the politicians use buzz words and phrases that become talking points, but many people don’t clearly understand what the issue is.

For example, the buzz term of the year is income inequality.  All the talking heads on TV refer to it, it is rumored to be a main campaign issue for the Democrats, but does anyone really understand what it is?  Income inequality is simply the gap between the rich and everyone else.  Do people understand why this is an important issue and how it affects their everyday lives?

This ad campaign would focus on commercials using words on the screen posing a question.  A question that show how the issue affects them directly.  It ends with the issue instead of leading with it.

Example 1
Do you believe that the executives in your companies deserve large raises and bonuses while the labor force is mandated to no or little raises in a year when there is little profit for the company?
We don’t either.
Lets stop the income inequality gap from getting out of control.
Vote Democratic Party.

Example 2
Do you believe that religious groups should be allowed to preach to our children in public school.
We don’t either.
Separation of church and state means that public school children will not be influenced by a religion that is not of your choosing.
Vote Democratic Party.

Example 3
Do you believe that health insurance companies should be allowed to refuse policies to those with pre-existing conditions such as cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol, etc.?
We don’t either.
Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) mandates that a person cannot be refused coverage because they were once sick or are still sick.
Vote Democratic Party.

Example 4
Do you believe that your employer should be allowed to mandate that you follow their religious beliefs just because you work for them?
We don’t either.
A woman’s’ health care options are between her and her doctor.  Employers should not be allowed to chose whether she has access to affordable birth control which is a legal prescription.
Vote Democratic Party.

I know that these are simplistic, but my point is to actually simplify the message.  We need people to feel the effect of the outcome before they realize the topic.

So to all those who are at the helm of the Democratic party, please think about changing the messaging of our ideas and campaigns.  Bring the pride back.  Explain how each issue actually affects people’s lives instead of just talking about the issue academically.  I find that most voters actually agree with the views and beliefs of the Democratic Party , yet they still vote against their best interest at times.  There needs to be an active campaign to change this trend.

If my ideas don’t seem to be adequate, then please do something novel, new, or trendy in order to grab the attention of the public.  We have lost both houses in congress to the Republicans and I would hate to see us lose the White House in 2016.

Sincerely,

MOTL

 tempora mutantur et nos mutamur in illis

notes take down

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