Democrats won the White House and a Congressional majority in 2020 by a thin margin. President Biden’s approval ratings remain low, and political prognosticators question the party’s chances in the 2022 mid-term elections. Why the gloom when Democrats are the majority party?
The reason for their woes, claim this father/son team, is poor branding. They note that Republicans excel at having a unified, simple message they keep hammering home. By contrast, Democrats’ national branding is murky and requires “a major reset, a rejection of most traditional Democratic marketing strategies” in favor of a new approach.
The Webers emphasize that elections are personal and that Democrats need to create a brand that relates to everyday concerns. “Democrats Fight for the People” would be effective branding, they posit. They also urge Democrats to define their opposition and avoid letting their opposition define them.
Next, the authors discuss how to execute the new branding, from yard signs and buttons to more town halls to using clear, declarative sentences and more. They suggest Democrats learn from Trump’s 2016 success (in adhering to his brand; simple, easy-to-understand messaging, etc.) and discuss creating a “strike force” to rebut Republican “lies and distortions.” Finally, they emphasize the urgency of adopting new branding before the next election.
The Webers present their recommendations in clear, simple, persuasive prose. They define their audience carefully: candidates, campaign staff, and interested Democrats. The drawback in their approach, however, is that it tends to “dumb down” political discourse. The Republicans have simplified their messages to reach voters who want easily grasped answers. The appeal of Democrats is that they speak to the complexity of the world. The Webers’ suggestions could result in abandoning diversity of views and complexity, one of their key strengths.
Nonetheless, the authors make excellent points throughout this book, and their advice to “Stop being a punching bag” will resonate with many. Democrats should find their recommendations valuable for the 2022 mid-terms and beyond.
Also available as an ebook.