Monday, March 24, 2014

Today's Establishment GOP - The "New Coke" of Politics

Let's go back to 1985.  Coca-Cola was losing some market share to Pepsi.  Coca-Cola, in order to try to regain market share, came up with what is considered to be one of the biggest marketing mistakes in the history of marketing - they re-formulated the ingredients in Coca-Cola to try to make it taste more like Pepsi.  Needless to say, it failed miserably.  The people at Coca-Cola thought that since Pepsi had gained some market share, the best way to get it back would be to change your drink to have it taste more like the competition.  Well, the Pepsi drinkers were not going to change their drink of choice.  Why should they?  If they liked Pepsi, why would you change over to a soda that was trying to imitate what you already liked?  Coca-Cola drinkers were mad, and would not purchase the new product because they liked the old formulation.  If they would want to drink Pepsi, they would buy Pepsi.  The last thing that they wanted was for their favorite drink to taste like the competition.

This marketing failure of almost 30 years ago is now being repeated by the Republican party.  Over the past several years, Republicans have viewed it in their best interest to think like and act like Democrats.  Instead of standing on the principles and the beliefs that got them into power, they have sought to compromise those principles in order to gain "market share" in the political world.

Amazingly, Republicans used to win elections based on their principles (just go back to Reagan, as well as the Contract With America).  But somewhere along the way, Republicans saw Democrats gaining ground, and thought that they needed to become more like them in order to win elections.

Here is the problem that the Republicans now have.  They are trying to become more like the Democrats in order to try to curry favor with the Democrat base.  But those Democrats are not going to vote for Republicans.  For one thing, they probably don't trust the Republicans.   But why would they vote for someone who is trying to be like them?  They will just vote for the real thing.  In this example, the Democrat Party is like the Pepsi fans.
The other problem is that the conservative, Republican base will not vote for them.  They do not like the fact that these officials are so willing to give up their principles in order to be like the competition.  They do not like that these officials are willing to sell them out in order to try to gain a few more votes.  The Republican base are the Coca-Cola diehards.

So, when will the Republican establishment leaders learn from this terrible miscalculation?  The problem is that they are deaf to the complaints coming from their own party.  They listen to the media and the Democrat Party when trying to "fix" the GOP's problems.  They continue to push deficits and spending and amnesty and other liberal issues, even while their constituents are loudly protesting these actions.  At least the Coca-Cola management relented, and went back to the original drink formulation, because they started to lose even more ground to Pepsi.  I am not sure that the GOP establishment leaders are smart enough to do the same thing.

Just ask John McCain how well this strategy works.  When he ran against George W. Bush in 2000, he was the media darling on the Republican side.  He catered to them and moderated his views, and the media wanted him to be the Republican candidate.  They couldn't get enough of him (even thought the rest of us has more than enough of him).  Fast forward to 2008 when McCain ran against Barack Obama.  He was not the media favorite any more.  In fact, they did whatever they could to sink him.  So much for being a fan favorite.

This is just one of the reasons that Republicans need to stop trying to be like the Democrats.  People that you think are on your side really are not - they'll stab you in the back at a moment's notice.  Also, there were many, many Republicans who did not vote in the 2008 election (even though I believe McCain might have been a slightly better President than Obama) because they felt that they were sold out.

Now, the Republican Party continues to push amnesty.  Some may be doing it out of the pretense that it is the right thing to do, regardless of politics.  But the overwhelming majority of them are doing it because they see millions of potential Republican voters becoming citizens.  This idea is foolish, because that is one thing that is not going to happen.

The Tea Party was established several years ago as a grass roots movement to protest the way that the government was headed and to show that there are indeed a lot of conservatives in this country.  It was also to protest the Republican Party, which was leaving their base behind in order to try to be more progressive.  Apparently, the leadership of the GOP has yet to understand this, as they continue to brush aside the Tea Party.  Why would they brush aside those same people that helped them get into office in the first place?

The answer to the GOP's problem is that they need to do what the Coca-Cola management did after they made their near-fatal mistake - get back to the original formula that made you the leader you were in the first place.  Otherwise, they will continue down a path to eventual destruction.

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