The Kitchens Group

The Props Are Not the Play
The most disturbing professional debate I have listened to since the election was one between two young consultants who were arguing about running data-based campaigns versus message-driven campaigns.  If the Clinton campaign did not offer everyone a lesson in a campaign without a message, then I can't imagine what would.  The problem for Democrats is that not only do they not have a message, but many consultants may not even understand the meaning of the term message.
Some consultants seem to believe a message is just an issue statement, such as "I support equal pay for women" or "I support an increase in the minimum wage."  There is one truism about campaigns that I think is an absolute - issues are only props to talk about the candidate as a person.  Personal values and the voters' perceptions of the world are much more powerful than opinions about individual issues.  If they weren't, candidates running on issues such as gun control or increasing education funding would be winning everywhere. Rather, people react emotionally to candidates as people.
In my book,  The Four Pillars of Politics:  Why Some Candidates Don't Win and Others Can't Lead, I point out that everything is filtered through four perceptions; fear, religiosity, consumerism, and narcissism. The candidate that reaches the voters at a gut level will win. Hillary Clinton's campaign did not connect with voters.  Her basic slogan was even backwards; I'M WITH HER.  The slogan and message for the campaign needed to be SHE'S WITH ME.  In the voters' eyes, unless a candidate is with ME on an emotional and value driven level, voters have little reason to support them.

By The Numbers#

After Trump's first 100 days, Democrats are applauding the polling data
indicating he has the lowest approval ratings of any President at this point in their term. But the New York Times/NBC poll has other numbers that should stop the Democrats in their tracks.  While 62% of the voters say the Republicans are out of touch with Americans, 67% say the Democrats are out of touch with Americans.  This data suggests that no matter how the Republicans fail to deliver on their promises, it may not translate into wins for the Democrats.  The voters always have a third choice - not to vote. Obviously, Democrats better start developing a real message for the voters or the Trump negatives may not matter in 2018. 

Great Political Read

So grateful for the work of Tyler Bridges and Jeremy Alford for documenting the story of the election of Governor John Bel Edwards in Louisiana in their book Long Shot .  It was a great campaign and we were honored to be part of the Governor's team.

James T. Kitchens, Ph.D.

The Kitchens Group has interviewed more than 5 million Americans on a wide spectrum of subjects including presidential elections, environmental initiatives, consumer purchases, and the use of social media by Wall Street investors.  Dr. Kitchens is the author of The Four Pillars of Politics:   Why Some Candidates Don't Win And Others Can't Lead.

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