Election, Inc.

There are myriad reasons to find the Democratic Party’s traveling shitshow depressing. Not least among these is the open secret that said party is not actually a political party, but a mere branding operation.

But that is really the point, TCT would remind.

Just as U.S. mass media are, if viewed in proper institutional perspective, a mere subordinate vector within the larger matrix of corporate marketing, so is what passes, in this broken society, for politics.

Just as we wrongly tend to perceive TV and mobile devices as the larger, deeper, primary entity vis-a-vis corporate sponsorship, so we continue to treat the incoherent personality duel that now constitutes our method of choosing our more liberal figureheads as something natural and primary. It is, in fact, no such thing.

One major clue to the actual reality that this is all just a way of filling content hours in between ad breaks is the 18-month length of the charade. Who benefits from that? Nobody but the corporate media and their sponsors, i.e. the runaway American overclass.

Other clues to the gestural nature of the thing abound, of course. Consider, for instance, all the elementary and obvious things it would take to make the United States an actual democracy. Abolition or fundamental reform of the Senate and elimination of the Electoral College would have to top such a list. No candidate, of course, will do anything but meekly hint at even half of this.

One might also ask why the Democratic Party chooses only personages from the corporate eyeball-and-eardrum farms to ask the debate questions, as if that is a natural thing. The answer there is not hard to decipher, if also unmentioned and unmentionable.

Russian Propaganda!

princess and the pea drawing So, the society’s liberals are feigning outrage that the Russians apparently spent a few million dollars generating a handful of pathetic, tone-deaf gestures “designed” to influence or disrupt “our democracy” (you know, the process we have whereby the loser of the popular election gets to take the office). The supposed outrage is about as deep and convincing as is the Democratic Party’s various other poses in areas of social justice, which is to say not in the least.

It is an open and obvious question: What possible impact could such a picayune thing have had, given the scale of the larger marketing operations that pass for presidential campaigns, to say nothing of the wider $2+ trillion sea of big business marketing that so thoroughly suffuses and dominates the society?

And, while we’re on this topic, take a look at this report on the troll factory from the WaPo. The WaPo wants you to think Orwell, but doesn’t it sound rather more similar to an ordinary workday in an advertising agency?

Once again, paging Dr. Heilbroner:

At a business forum, I was once brash enough to say that I thought the main cultural impact of television advertising was to teach children that grown-ups told lies for money. How strong, deep, or sustaining can be the values of a civilization that generates a ceaseless flow of half-truths and careful deceptions?

Marketers Don’t Get It

snake Scott Goodstein, CEO of Revolution Messaging, has an op-ed piece in today’s New York Times. Mr. Goodstein, who fancies himself a rebel and sees his work in helping reduce politics to marketing as somehow liberating, says “[i]n future campaigns, Democrats will need to devote even more resources to social networks than they did in 2016.” So, yeah, wow, very deep, Scott.

Meanwhile, Goodstein asks us to “Imagine if Mrs. Clinton had ditched the script, the teleprompter and the overproduced videos and posted a cellphone video telling America that she was fired up on an issue.”

Earth to Scott: Not only was/is Mrs. Clinton mega-obviously not fired up about anything but her own social climbing and power-seeking, but what, pray tell, would be left of her without all the political marketing? Again, mega-obviously, the answer is “nothing.”

Your industry — political marketing — is, despite your self-serving fantasies, inherently and fully part of our mounting crisis. Telling better lies is not the way forward.

It takes this kind of cluelessness to do what Goodstein does, despite it all.

Don Drumpf as an Object of Shame

As usual, reading the big business marketing press is more helpful than most regular journalism. Seems that the main cause of the unusually big errors in the marketing research tools used to conduct and predict the gigantic 18-month marketing operations we perceive as political elections was the fact that a significant number of Drumpf voters are ashamed of themselves:

How did so many pollsters get the presidential election so wrong? The answer may involve shame, some of which belongs to research organizations themselves.

The other part of the shame belonged to Trump voters, many of them unwilling to admit, particularly to live human beings on the other end of the phone, their plans to vote for the president-elect.

That was an effect that Trafalgar Group, a small Atlanta-based Republican-affiliated polling firm, began noticing during the Republican primaries. So it developed a system to counteract the effect. Trafalgar started asking voters not only who they planned to vote for, but also who they thought their neighbors would vote for. The latter percentage consistently came out higher number than the former, said Robert Cahaly, senior strategist.

“On a live poll, the deviation was that Trump was understated probably 6%-7%, and on an automatic poll it was probably understated 3%-4%,” Mr. Cahaly said.

Quite comical and telling that the elite hacks running Brand Klinton seem to have utterly missed this aspect of reality in their pathetic efforts to peddle an even more pathetic product.

The answer to the errors, as always, is to better reduce politics to marketing:

Political polling may be more closely watched and higher profile, but in many ways it needs to catch up with brand market research, said Simon Chadwick, founding and managing partner of Cambiar, a consulting firm for market-research agencies and their investors.

“What’s happening increasingly in marketing is that survey research is being used to complement other forms of data,” he said, be it transactional data, social-media listening, ethnography or neuroscience. “People increasingly are synthesizing those other forms of data,” he said, “but in politics it doesn’t seem to have happened.”

Hillary as Brand

worst Advertising Age, which named Barack Obama its Marketer of the Year in 2008, is digging through the Wikileaks DNC revelations and reporting on how Hillary Clinton is being managed as a corporate product. Suffice to say, this is not a small topic behind the scenes. Here’s a little snippet from a very long dialogue about the Klinton campaign’s logo design:

We have a gift in the Hillary Rodham Clinton brand because of massive recognition/awareness. Obama did not start with this. At the same time we must create a new, fresh view of that familiar brand in a truly authentic and compelling way.

To be clear, a logo can communicate and aid attribution of qualities, but it is not a proxy for the messaging of the campaign until they are relentlessly connected and delivered, repeatedly and consistently. That’s when brands take on meaning.

Rousing stuff, isn’t it? Our grandchildren will surely thank us for attending so diligently to the epoch’s burning core question of “when brands take on meaning.”

Ad Age Worried About Killary Losing California

hillary-clinton Hillary Clinton, who looks authentic responding to charges of corruption and sitting in on war crimes but looks like the cat who swallowed the canary in front of actual working class people and groups, might lose the upcoming California primary.

Among the many reasons to hope that happens is the fact that Advertising Age magazine, the flagship of the big business marketing press and the enterprise that named the war-criminal architect of Romneycare’s passage its 2008 Marketer of the Year, fears that Killary losing California might “cause a fatal chain reaction.”

Fascinating and telling that the prospective failure to sell the long-sponsored Klinton show might be such a huge blow to our existing system of “election” via political marketing…

This system is a mile wide and endowed with trillions, but remains a mere inch deep.