Sixteen Republicans – a number so big they do it in shifts – will take the debate stage tonight to offer their views on the future of the country and what they’ll do to affect change.
I have some advice for the Grand Old Party: go long on the Grand and shelve the Old.
To be more specific: stand for Growth and Opportunity.
Get it — GOP.
Thank you, Sherlock.
Republicans need an identifiable message that resonates with the public.
Call it a freshening of the brand, call it strategic messaging, call it marketing and advertising, but mostly call it overdue.
The private sector does it every day, out of necessity. Otherwise you’re lost in the marketplace. Identifying what you’re selling, your market, the best way to say it, and whom to say it to are part of any successful business plan.
Think about some of the great corporate branding campaigns and what they meant for the long-term success of the company: Intel Inside, Have a Coke and a Smile, Don’t Leave Home Without it (American Express), A Diamond is Forever (DeBeers), Think Different (Apple), Got Milk? And oh yes, Nike has a few.
Brands with an identifiable message resonate with people years later.
And there’s Trump, a brand as big as any at the moment. His brand identity, combined with his willingness to say out loud what many people only think, has him leading the polls. The Trump Effect may force the other candidates to get bolder in their style and their messaging.
That could be good. Maybe necessity really is the mother of invention.
Republicans need fresh, grand ideas and no more status quo.
The Republican front-runner won’t do it. The brand Trump cares about most is Trump. So another Republican should take this mantra and run with it. The country needs you.
Before I lay out the blueprint to save the country (you’re welcome, by the way), let’s cover a few key premises of the Growth and Opportunity branding campaign.
Opportunity is really about freedom, the cornerstone of the American Way—the freedom to try, the freedom to buy, the freedom to sell, the freedom to fail.
Opportunity and freedom are made possible by the principles on which our country was founded: individual liberty, sovereignty of the people, federalism, state’s rights, limited government represented by our democracy (as messy as it is in practice), and private property.
Isn’t opportunity — as a counter to tyranny — what the revolutionaries fought for, and what (presumably most) Republican elected officials campaigned on? Isn’t that what we wanted and a key tenet on which the country was founded?
Give the American people a history class. It will work.
The highest level of prosperity occurs when there is a free-market economy and a minimum of government regulations. We are the world’s greatest innovators. Of the most valuable private companies in the worlds, 9 of the top 10 are American (through Q3 2014; Financial Times Global 500). Of the world’s most valuable brands, the Top 7 are American. Our gross national product is #1, according to the United Nations, and it’s not even close, almost double that of #2-ranking China, which is nice.
Capitalism creates the wealth that allows us the creature comforts we enjoy, to take care of those who can’t do it for themselves, and allows the U.S. to support most of the free world in some fashion. We the people get to choose within the marketplace and reign in the rogues as needed (see Wall Street, circa 2008).
America is not perfect and we should take care of those who really need help. We’re # 10 in the so-called “Prosperity Index” that measures the success of countries based on 89 different economic analysis variables in industry, education, health, freedom, opportunity, and social capital (Business Insider).
Anyway, let’s say we can agree that growth is good since jobs and output drive the economy in a positive direction and it’s worked out well for America so far. Underscoring these basic values will be fundamental to an inspiring campaign.
Republican ideals need to be wrapped in a full-scale branding campaign, so stay with me for a minute on the big message—Growth and Opportunity – and underlying principles that accompany them.
In the end, it’s a winning formula. Who cares about growth and opportunity? How about immigrants, particularly the most important demographic in politics today, Hispanics.
What It Means
When you boil it down, what does Growth and Opportunity really mean? I say keep it simple:
- Individual freedom and jobs. Everyone should have the chance to get a job or start a business. If you’re willing to work, this is inherent in our capitalist society. But what tools do we need?
- Education. Everyone should have the chance to get a post-secondary education. That’s a traditional University, community college, vocational school, or the like. And everyone should be encouraged to go. In fact, the government should pay for it if, for example, that person will do a minimum of 1 year of service, whether it be military or philanthropic (the Israel model).
We do it for secondary education, but that’s not good enough today. Remember this constitutional principle: a free society cannot survive as a republic without a broad program of general education. This was a worthy goal in 1776 and needs to go farther today as we operate in a global economy.
The income chasm is growing between the rich and poor. According to U.S. News, “Americans are feeling increasingly in economic retreat. Barely half (51 percent) now consider themselves as being part of the middle or upper classes, compared to an average of 61 percent during 2000-08. A full 48 percent say they are now in the working or lower classes.” We need to figure out why and how to fix it. Not to make it equal – it will never be equal, we’re not a socialist country. We need to pay attention to the underlying causes and it probably comes back to education.
- People first. The constitutional principle of popular sovereignty says that the authority of the government is created and sustained by the consent of its people, the source of all political power. We are a republic; our elected officials represent us. If they forget that, we shouldn’t forget our freedom to remind them at the ballot box on Election Day.
We also need every citizen vested in the federal budget to have a stake in our goals as a country. Our current revenue model is unsustainable and trending the wrong way; we can’t have half of the country pulling the wagon and the other half riding… the wagon won’t move.
And yes, we should account for enlightened evolution. Beliefs held by a society in 1776 can and should change over the course of 238 years, but the basic principles on which the country was founded should remain constant. This is not Europe and I refuse to believe that most Americans want it to be.
Chasing the Dream
Isn’t the American Dream why we’re all here or want to be? Isn’t that why we were founded? We get to pursue happiness, for goodness sakes, and even have the right to choose it—it’s aspirational.
Opportunity is tried and true, it draws people; it conjures the imagination and inspires big dreams, it’s why people come here and don’t leave.
So, I’m proposing a GOP refresh. Engage the public and make it happen.
Call the campaign American Revolution 2, hire Vin Diesel, throw in Mom, Apple Pie and the Flag for all I care. It’s not King George, but other countries are nipping at our heels economically (see Middle East oil squeeze), and educationally (we’re being substantially out-performed by the BRIC countries and others in the STEM subjects).
We better get deadly serious about the terrorist threat to our national security and the borders or none of it will matter.
Repeat after me GOP — Growth and Opportunity.
Just Do It.