Analysis of media issues, politics and current events.
The Republican Party’s current woes and low polls is not a messaging problem. It’s a YOU problem (with the finger pointed at the GOP). Your current and willfully strident messaging only services to reinforce the notion the problem is you.
Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson writes in a smart article “How to Save the Republican Party,” that many Republicans look at their policy disconnect and political breakup with the larger American public as simply a matter of messaging not getting through. Gerson says,
“Among some party loyalists, there is a natural tendency to maintain that the GOP is simply suffering from a “communications problem,” that if only Republicans spoke more loudly, more insistently, and with greater purity and passion, they would broaden their appeal and proceed to sweep national elections.”
As Gerson agrees, that’s not the case. The polls, election trends and demographics have clearly shown the public has decidedly moved on to a different place. Some of those who’ve left (women, Hispanics, youth) feeling a smarting bruise from the demonization they gotten over the last few years. To be fair, Americans have not moved away so much to truly embrace liberalism or liberal policies more than rejecting stale parts of the Republican platform; its intolerance, temper, increasingly evident appearance of political pettiness and inability to focus enough to govern.
In short, it’s why a lot of people leave relationships. Your partner’s turned into a bit of a dick that’s hard to live with just not worth it right now.
Yet willfully ignorant of its perception and holding the belief, people just aren’t hearing their message of their awesomeness, the party is, as Spinal Tap put it, turning the volume of the message up to 11, by getting more aggressive and strident in its message. All when some patience and careful outreach would likely prove more politically lucrative in the long run.
This reminds me of another highly aggressive approach to win someone over: stalking an ex. Anyone who’s experienced or realized they’ve stalked someone can vouch for its woeful success rate (and amazing ability to attract law enforcement). Stalking, is essentially arrogance that makes a person (or party) believe anyone can be won over if you push what you’re selling hard enough. That who you are trying to court will welcome you back in their life if they’ll just take a moment to listen to how awesome you really are. Exposing them to your current awesomeness is so important, you’ll force it on them.
The problem is, the approach is destructively aggressive, tone deaf, and usually disrupts the other person life to the point they start to REALLY not like you. Or even move even farther away in fear.
This is the current risk of the Republican Party idea of just stronger messaging. Even most relationship breakups, there’s no chance of getting back together if your partner doesn’t see you’re willing to make changes. So if Republicans don’t take a more measured, tactical approach, incorporate America’s concerns honestly, the party is in danger of turning what may be a amicable breakup that leaves chance to reconciliation, into a national political restraining order that will keep them apart for a good, long time.
A shortsighted as some of the GOP leadership seem to be, I think I know where this is going.