Are Republicans Too Smart For Their Own Good?
Have you ever wondered why Republican presidential candidates seem to be far more knowledgeable about the pressing issues facing the nation whilst armed with specific, detailed plans to solve the problems that confront us, but still fail miserably come election time?
Is it possible Republicans have become too smart for their own good?
Before you scoff, consider that the vast majority of Americans don't make decisions intellectually. They make them emotionally.
In fact, if people made decisions intellectually and analytically, our economy would die.
Companies count on the consumer buying from emotion. If he or she didn't, our GDP would be far lower than it is, and unemployment far higher.
Don't believe me? Ask one of your friends who's a salesperson whether he or she appeals to a prospect's intellect or emotions. Whether you like it or not, it's assuredly the latter.
Consider the industry of marketing. Has a radio or television ad actually ever led you to make a purchase? Probably not, right?
But American companies spend billions on radio and television advertising. Why?
Because it works!
It may not work on you or most intelligent Americans, but it does work on the vast majority of the public.
Be thankful it does, or depending on what you do for a living, you mightn't have a job.
With that as pretext, it's clear Republicans in the past decade or so have forgotten the importance of marketing, or, at the very least, their presidential candidates haven't been good marketers.
Heresy you say?
Take the blinders off.
People make buy decisions based on their dreams, their fears, and sometimes out of envy.
This product will make your teeth whiter, your hair shinier, make you look less fat, help you attract a man/woman, or your neighbor has it and you're going to look poor if you don't.
Ever watched an episode of "Madmen?" That's what it's about.
And when it comes to politics, people also buy candidates based on dreams and fear.
Obama capitalized on both.
He made people afraid of Republicans, fearful that their lives would continue to worsen if they elected John McCain, and assured them that he could make their dreams come true.
That's a mighty powerful combination.
Was it based largely on lies as well as the assumption that the population wouldn't see through them?
But isn't that what admen do? Does the product REALLY make your teeth whiter or your hair shinier? Or do you just want to believe it?
Unfortunately, today's Republicans are trying to appeal to the public's intellect.
McCain and Mitt Romney painstakingly explained the features and benefits of their prospective policies rather than appealing to the dreams of the electorate and assuaging their fears.
That's bad salesmanship, and in the words of pop singer Huey Lewis, sometimes bad is bad.
And therein lies the problem: the aging of the GOP - meaning the average age of Republican members - makes them too intellectual.
Older people aren't driven by dreams anymore, and are also less fearful. As such, they want the facts, and from them they'll make a decision.
But that's not where America is right now. People are making fast, emotion-driven purchase decisions that have little to do with intellect.
Think back to how quickly America fell for Obama. It's emblematic of a hook-up society. People see what they like and grab it without much thought.
But could they possibly have felt that way about John McCain. What was to love about him? What dreams did he promise to fulfill or fears to assuage. Where was the inspiration?
Same for Romney. There's just nothing there to get average Americans excited about.
Fortunately, Republicans lucked out with George W. Bush who also wasn't at all inspiring but won because Gore was totally UNinspiring as was Kerry.
So where does that leave Republicans?
Trying to find a candidate that will inspire the nation while helping them achieve their dreams and become less fearful.
It's not as impossible as it sounds.
In the past 32 years there have been three such candidates: Reagan, Clinton, and Obama. Of course, I'd make the case that Clinton wouldn't have won without Ross Perot in the race, so maybe it's only two.
And no, I'm not comparing Reagan to Obama. I'm just saying that Obama sold to the society's dreams and fears much as Reagan did.
In reality, Reagan sold more to people's dreams and unlike Obama actually meant what he said, but that's beside the point.
The point is Republicans have chosen astonishingly bad salesmen of late, and are therefore making it easy for Democrats who at this moment are unquestionably far better salesmen.
Assuming they'll be facing Hillary Clinton in 2016, Republicans need a young, inspirational, well-spoken man or woman who speaks to the dreams of the nation in a way she can't.
If the GOP puts forth another aging intellectual talking features and benefits, said candidate will end up doing his or her critical thinking in a house likely not colored white.