July 28, 2017

“A Better Deal” – a branding fail

The Democratic Party announced a timid war cry for the 2018 mid-term elections: A Better Deal.


Go ahead, try to come up with a weaker, less-effective combination of words. Maybe “marginal improvement!” or “slightly less evil!” The GOP has Frank Luntz; the Dems apparently have a committee of clerks. This branding train wreck will suck the life out of the 2018 campaign.

For one thing, it’s a trivial promise. Look, for example, at the disastrous, vulgar wreckage of “the Mooch” and the White House Communications Staff – and then promise to be “better.” Look at the legislative failures around health care – and offer something merely “better.” (“Trust us, we can improve on catastrophe.”)

Just as important, it is clearly not an admonition. It doesn’t even have a verb. No action, no motion, no emotion, no hook, no marching orders. It’s a limp, feeble slogan. One power of an admonitory rallying cry (MAGA, e.g.) is that it contains a call to action. Pick up your torches! Grab your pitchforks! This pusillanimous passive pitch just whispers to you to keep score; it will silently sink out of sight.