The Missed Messaging Opportunity in 2018

A new book by Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer, The Hill To Die On, is a very interesting read overall. The book is not entirely about political campaigns, but there is one particularly interesting passage about the 2018 election cycle that demonstrates why Republicans lost in 2018.

Excerpt from page 285:

McCarthy’s solution was for the party to adopt a massive messaging shift, one that would come to define the 2018 election cycle: That morning he urged the dozens of Republicans gathered to forget the positive message on the economy that the GOP had publicly been touting. Instead, he implored them to go sharply negative on the issues that mattered the most: safety, and Democrats’ efforts to turn America toward socialism, destroy health care, and raise taxes. Why? Because his data showed that it worked, that’s why. McCarthy pointed out that positive messaging moved independent and college-educated women an average of 10.3 percent, while negative advertising moved them 13 percent.

Armed with data from the NRCC and other Republican political entities, McCarthy outlined a new strategy: attack, attack, attack. To win over swing voters and centrist Democrats, they should attack “government controlled, one-size-fits-all health care.” To win Republicans, “government-run” and “government takeover” should be the new watchwords. Never mind that Republicans had been in complete control of Washington for two whole years and were still walloping Democrats for their health care plan, a now-eight-year-old law that the GOP could not find the courage or the votes to repeal.

The authors make a good point in closing that second paragraph; rather difficult to run on more “repeal and replace” nonsensical rhetoric when the last “attempt” at it failed.

But there is a bigger point to what happened in 2018. There was no cohesive messaging about the tax cuts in 2018, which was something we kept pressing for in our podcast episodes during the election cycle last year. Very few candidates were good evangelists for the tax reform passage working and the economy improving.

When the Democrats started losing the argument on employment, as the unemployment number was dropping to new record lows monthly, they shifted to saying, “yeah but, wages are low,” well, in episode 22 we specifically discussed the fact that it took a little time for the economy to adjust, but wages were on the rise. Not only were wages increasing but benefit packages for employees were getting better, we discussed that in episode 10.

The point is, that the miracle that was taking place in the American economy was worth talking about, and instead the party leaders moved to the old standby tactics, rather than sharing with voters that they were the reason the miracle was happening, that they wanted to help expand the miracle in 2019 and 2020 and beyond.

Finally, the Republican party missed a huge opportunity on a conversation about Opportunity Zones (OZs). OZs were tucked away in the 2017 tax reform bill, around page 130 or so. And this concept has the ability to renew and revitalize neighborhoods and communities and it can put people to work immediately. Basically, every state was given a time frame to set aside some poverty-ridden areas to be designated as OZs. Then, investors are allowed to invest some money into these zones for a set amount of time, and during that time, the investors would not be penalized with capital gains taxes. So instead of investors pocketing this money, funds are able to be invested into new ventures in these high-poverty areas: new businesses, new infrastructure, new employment opportunities.

There is always 2019 and 2020 to have this conversation, I suppose…

Podcast 22

Show Notes:

CNBC: Wages and salaries jump by 3.1%, highest level in a decade


Podcast 19

Show Notes:


Meanwhile, the economy is doing great and people are going back to work and investors are investing in America and its workforce, and what is Senator Cory Booker promising America? Ah yes, to put the impeachment of Justice Kavanaugh on the table.

Yahoo: Cory Booker says Kavanaugh impeachment shouldn’t be off the table

Podcast 18

Show Notes:

Drudge Report October 5, 2018 Employment Number

The entire episode of the NPR show Marketplace we excerpted from can be found here.



This applies to your campaign as well, whether local or for a federal office, educate your voters about the economy and about how tax policies work.

Podcast 17

Show Notes:

Democrats unveil their 2018 Campaign platform:

 

Followed by their 2018 and 2020 slogan:

Millions of people giving up Food Stamps:

Two good examples of sharing success stories from your community:

Podcast 15

Show Notes:


Seen in The Detroit News:

Opinion: Tax reform works for Michigan

Republican Party of Florida Greets Obama

By Steve Parkhurst

The Republican Party of Florida has run a great full-page ad in a local Jacksonville newspaper today to greet the current President. The ad promotes the great work done by Governor Rick Scott on jobs and the economy in Florida.

Florida Republican Party to Obama

Kudos to the Florida GOP.

Paul Ryan Talks With Bill Bennett

By Steve Parkhurst

Congressman Paul Ryan talked with Bill Bennett on Wednesday morning. I think this interview was actually pretty thorough and Paul Ryan was definitely on top of his game. Listen to them discuss the Senate immigration bill, energy policy and upcoming budget issues.

Quoted About Job Prospects For College Graduates

By Steve Parkhurst

I was recently interviewed by a writer for CollegeStats.org about job prospects for college graduates in a few years down the road. The Congressional Budget Office and the International Monetary Fund are both speculating about an economic recovery a few years from now. Not coincidentally, the reports suggest that the best economic growth is expected after a new President is sworn in on January 20, 2017.

Anyhow, here is the excerpt that quotes me, and here is the full article, which is well worth a look.

 

CollegeStats.org Steve Parkhurst GPH Consulting

The Happy State of College Graduates Steve Parkhurst GPH Consulting

America Missed

By Steve Parkhurst

As the new year is now underway, the personal shock of the 2012 election has still not set in for me. In my mind I keep re-playing this brief speech excerpt from Paul Ryan just before the November election:

PAUL RYAN: “Our commitment is really clear. We’re saying here are the solutions; here are the principles we’re going to use; here’s our proven bipartisan track record of actually delivering results and getting things done; here’s what we’re going to do. And I’ve got to tell you, 2013 could be a renaissance in America, in the world and in America. 2013 can be the year we get our economy growing, we start creating 12 million new jobs, we put these pro-growth policies in place and we reaffirm the American idea by electing Mitt Romney the next President of the United States.” – Full kudos to Breitbart for the video and transcript.

Time will tell, but as of now, I feel like America missed as great opportunity with a Romney Presidency. Not only would Barack Obama not be a President with nothing to fear as he will never again appear on a ballot, but we still do not have a credible business, a CEO-type in the Oval Office. We have an excuse maker with no track record of accomplishments and no history of being held accountable for failure. Mitt Romney may not have turned out to be the next Ronald Reagan or Calvin Coolidge, but he would have been a tremendous improvement over the current President.

Now, we’ll never know. This video keeps reminding me of the great opportunity we had in 2012 and beyond.

America missed.