By Tom Dougherty

19 December 2019

Impeachment and the Democrats

Impeachment and the Democrats

If brand is nothing else, it is a consistent and defining belief statement repeated over and over again. Impeachment is a defining moment in the brand of the Democratic Party. How the Democrats embrace it will decide if it is a positive or negative moment.

But let me explain a bit about brand first, particularly when it comes to political brands. Brand is a tightly defined belief statement that bonds adherents to it. In this way of examining the material world, we build great brands to reflect the highest emotional intensity of those that the brand wishes to influence.

The higher the emotional intensity, the more powerful the brand.

Impeachment is a terrifically high intensity

As a political adherent, nothing self-describes party members more than moments of decision. Like an impeachment of a President. They are points of inflection where an action indicates intensity of belief and are crucial in motivating brand loyalists to BUY the brand.

ImpeachmentIn retail, this action causes purchase. It encourages wearing of a purse with Michael Kors logos front and center. In politics, this means letting the world know your party affiliation.

Make America Great Again

MAGA is such an inflection point. Wearing the red baseball cap at a political rally or when walking in the supermarket declared not who you supported politically— it states who you believe you are. See the difference?

Purchases without emotional connection are, well, just purchases. Buying Hellman’s mayonnaise instead of Duke’s mayonnaise in NC means you’re not authentically southern. The purchase of mayonnaise is not a jar of emulsified oil and eggs, it’s a statement of self.

“Maybe it’s because what the Democrats BELIEVED is that they had a duty to level these charges. Regardless of the consequences. I’m thinking this might be a PROUD day to be say I’m a Democrat.”

Impeachment. What will the Democrats do?

The intensity of a brand’s power is in the brand’s story. A germinal statement of agreed upon facts. All told in a compelling way.

Will the Democrats be smart enough to restate the facts of impeachment in a compelling way? Probably not.

As an aggregation of divergent groups, they lack the clicking of heels and the clacking of rifle bolts that Republicans seem to repeat easily. There is generally more dissent in the Democratic Party itself than there is across the aisle with Republican colleagues.

Define the brand with agreed truths

Start with the truths.

First truth— Impeachment is an exercise in futility. Zero chance of the Senate convicting the President.

Second Truth— Democrats are providing President Trump with yet another story of persecution. A long list of indiscretions. Upsets of the election laws that decide Presidential elections through the Electoral College. The Mueller Report that, while less an exoneration of abuse of power, was clearly exoneration for the President of Russian collusion.

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The Republican Party has done a great job of defining the impeachment movement as nothing more than a political charade.

A better story for the Democrats

As a brand strategist, I would advise the Democratic Party to embrace the two truths and the one innuendo mentioned above.

“There is no upside to impeachment”

In fact, conducting impeachment hearings has no upside potential. It emboldens President Trump’s base to turn out to vote. Nothing moves masses of people to action like perceived persecution. So, voting for impeachment produces bad political implications.

Does anyone believe that, having impeached President Trump, a single Republican adherent now will support a Democratic candidate next year?

Unless you are a representative from a BLUER than blue district, this vote has REAL risks.

And, remember, the House already KNOWS the Senate with acquit on all counts. It also knows that rivals will label it as more persecution.

Wait a moment

You mean there is no political upside to impeachment? That the House Democrats embraced certain political risk to take this action? You mean this action mobilizes the President’s base to have 100% turnout in the next election?

Maybe it’s because what the Democrats BELIEVED is that they had a duty to level these charges. Regardless of the consequences.

I’m thinking this might be a PROUD day to be say I’m a Democrat.

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