Friday, February 11, 2005

Rebranding the Democrats

Terry Michael feels that America's Democratic Party has lost its brand equity, and needs to reposition itself. The title of his article, "A Return to Liberalism's Jeffersonian Roots", indicates where he would like to take it. He explains:
Born in the agrarian era of its founder, Thomas Jefferson, the Democratic Party's original story was of a small central government serving self-sufficient "little people" (farmers, shop keepers, frontiersmen), prizing and preserving individual liberty -- juxtaposed against the elitist federalists, and their monarchical, big central government ambition.

The Democratic Party story was refashioned in the industrial era, particularly with arrival of the New Deal, when one-size-fits-all, central authority, wealth-redistributive policies were appealing to those little guys. Most of them had traded self-sufficiency for wage labor. Their economic lives revolved around big impersonal corporations, against which they were represented by big labor.

But in a post-industrial, information economy, the little guys, who Democrats have always claimed to represent, are again more self-sufficient, empowered to make -- tailor-make, in fact -- choices for themselves ... The "Central Authority Solutions" story offered by Democrats, from the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries, lost luster.

In contrast, he looks at the Republicans:
You could reduce the GOP brand to this: "Government bad. America good. The marketplace will provide. In God we trust. Equal opportunity, but not equal outcomes, for all."

The Democrats needs similar clarity. But what do they have? John Kerry.

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