Recent years have witnessed lots of hand-wringing about the Democratic “brand,” paired with anxieties about a lack of clarity regarding the Democrats’ mission, along with questions like “what do the Democrats stand for?” It’s a fair gripe – it hasn’t been easy for Dems to project a clear, concise message that gives them a positive image. But now that the Republicans are in glorious 3D ‘disarray,’ it’s time for Democrats to craft some new GOP branding irons, so Republicans will have to display a deeper imprint on their foreheads.
Branding is not a one-way strategy. It’s just as important to brand the adversary as oneself.
G.O.P. stands for “Gridlock, Obstruction and Paralysis” is a particularly good fit at the moment. That’s fine for bumper stickers and headlines. But it’s also time for Dems to sear the “do-nothing GOP” and “Chaos party” brands deeply into the Republican public image. Pair it with a reminder that the The GOP leaders are marinating in their own chaos to the point where they can’t even get newly-elected members, most of whom are Republicans, sworn-in, let alone do the peoples’ business.
As Stephen Collinson put it at CNN Politics, “McCarthy is becoming the latest example of a political leader consumed by a revolution the “Make America Great Again” radicals helped to stage. For the radical lawmakers now blocking his ascent to his dream job, he’s become the political establishment he once condemned….The Californian, who has lost a stunning 11 consecutive House roll call votes in his bid to become speaker, was the first major GOP leader to embrace ex-President Donald Trump after the January 6, 2021, insurrection.”
“The speakership stalemate is not just a fresh indication of the turmoil still racking the GOP after the far-right forced out two previous GOP speakers,” Collinson adds. “It suggests the new GOP House majority will be perennially dysfunctional and – given the capacity of a few lawmakers to grind the chamber to a halt at any moment – chaotic political crises are likely to dominate the next two years.”
What Dems must do is something more than sit on the couch enjoying the spectacle and noshing on popcorn. Every single Democratic elected official ought to be out there branding the Republicans as the incompetent do-nothing party. It’s long been true. But never before has there been a better political moment for making the brand stick. Some Democratic leaders are doing this. But all of them need to make it the ‘message du jour.’
Eventually, the Republicans will elect a speaker and they will be able to make Democratic reforms D.O.A. in the House, no matter what Dems are able to accomplish in the senate. They will launch investigations targeting Democrats, and they will dominate the media narrative when it comes to House coverage. For Dems not to take full advantage of this political moment, would be political malpractice. Attack, attack, attack.