Sunday, February 26, 2012
Politics, Strategy, and the Demise of a Brand
"He's a good man, just in the wrong century."
-Kathleen Parker, syndicated columnist.
There is no better widely-broadcasted public arena than national politics in the US to witness and study strategy.
The above quote is in reference to Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum who has been making headlines lately for his polarizing rhetoric and a surge in the polls. He has seemingly led the conversation to a religiously charged place where each candidate is jockeying to be the most conservative in the eyes of the public. Santorum is leading the charge to bring religion into the conversation with statements like "separation of church and state make me want to vomit" but is he the one who actually wanted this shift in the debate?
The Obama administration's recent proposal to mandate that religious based health organizations pay for contraception created a fire storm in conservative circles and led to a public discussion on whether contraception should be promoted or even used at all. Was this just another controversial stance by Obama or was this a strategic move to shepherd the republican debate into territory that is only supported by a small number of Americans? All of whom are aligned with an aging political party that is growing increasingly less diverse and seemingly less in tune with a rapidly changing nation.
If the goal is differentiation, the republican party is successfully moving that way, just not in the direction of their ultimate year end goal, to occupy the White House. While each candidate works to position themselves as the conservative of choice, they are moving increasingly farther away from appealing to the moderates and independents that they need to get elected.
We are witnessing the very public demise of a brand, the Republican party. As the world changes and evolves around the party that currently has control of the House of Representatives, they are failing to realize that their rigidity, a core value that their most public figures praise, is what will ultimately be their downfall. Flexibility and the ability to adapt is core to the existence of any brand.
If the Republican party continues to stand their ground, they will soon be left with no earth beneath their feet.