Democratic Party

Effective Messaging

One area where Democrats consistently lose to Republicans is in the PR department, and the cause of that is multi-faceted but can be boiled down to one thing -- Democrats don't like to lie.

It's a heck of a lot easier to out-message your opponent if you're willing to make up total bullshit to do so and Republicans are more than happy to do that. Republicans lose on policy, and they know it, which why they stick to buzz-words and catchy phrases like "government-takeover" and "job killing." That's where they win. They win on messaging.

That's changing now, and not because Democrats have suddenly decided they are going to follow the Republicans playbook, but because Republican policy has gone so far to the right, and become so heinous, that the negative effects of their policies have become self-evident, self-incriminating, and self-deprecating.The average American may not understand macro-economics or the complexities of foreign policy, but they do understand taking away that which is most important to them. This understanding, combined with Republican over-reach, opens the doorway to the kind of effective messaging that average voters tend to respond to without being intentionally misleading as Republicans so often are. "Repeal the job-killing government takeover of healthcare" is an inherently false proposition, but it is an effective message. On the other hand, "Seniors will have to resort to desperate measures" is both true and effective.For the purposes of effective messaging, the Republicans may as well have written this new ad for us.

WASHINGTON – A new Democratic ad portrays seniors as having to engage in acts of economic desperation to pay their health care bills in a hypothetical future in which the House-approved GOP budget that privatizes Medicare becomes law.The 30-second spot, titled "How Will You Pay?", begins with one elderly man sitting behind a stand selling lemonade for 50 cents per cup. The next scene shows a senior mowing someone's lawn as the resident berates him. It ends with an older man dressed up as a firefighter and stripping for young women.

seniorLemonade.jpgHyperbole? Exaggeration? I don't think so.For one thing, the proposed annual worth of the Republican healthcare-coupons is significantly less than my own parents are already paying for insurance and they're only 60 years old in the year 2011. The coupon program won't kick in until 2022 and healthcare costs will have gone up a great deal by then. The eligibility age of the new Medicare-coupons won't be 65 either, it will be 69 after the Republican plan is fully phased in.How exactly is someone who is 70 to 80 years old, and of limited means, suppose to get by on a fixed-rate coupon that only adjusts upward by 1% each year? How exactly are you suppose to make it to the age of 70 without going bankrupt over medical costs and then manage to not go bankrupt even after you start receiving healthcare-coupons in the mail?What is the alternative to the acts of economic desperation portrayed in this new Democratic ad? Just die? As Alan Greyson said, the Republican plan is "Don't get sick. If you do, die quickly."Is this how you reward the seniors who overwhelming voted to put you in power during the 2010 midterm elections?We’ve all had our gripes about the Democrat’s lack of balls in the past when it comes to going after Republican policy, but it looks as though we won’t make the same mistake this time. And ironically, we can partially thank Republicans for it. You don't have to exaggerate anything to get the message across to the average voter when you find yourself asking the kinds of questions that Republican policy begs to be asked. The policy is just that bad.Is it unfortunate that it had to come to this point before Democrats regained their messaging-mojo? Sure, but better late than never. I believe we will have a fighter in future DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and it appears that the other side of the aisle will shamelessly write most of the campaign ads for us.