Marketing Ron Paul in a more Mainstream WaySubmitted by dave00 on Tue, 07/05/2011 - 00:36
Ok, so I’m a long time lurker (like nearly everyday for four years!). So today, I write my first post.
As I celebrated our nation’s independence this weekend, a new way of looking at the Ron Paul narrative occurred to me that could conceivably be very lucrative and marketable to him and the movement.
There’s a lot of talk about how Ron Paul, and his liberty movement, is shifting the Republican Party. To me, that isn’t the whole story. That narrative overlooks a much bigger, broader picture.
Ron Paul is shifting the American political center.
From the increasing growth of the progressive left / libertarian right coalition in Congress to the changing majority views of war in our nation, for the first time in generations, the political center is being pushed back in the direction of little ‘l’ libertarianism.
In 1998, when Jesse Ventura ran for Governor of Minnesota, he positioned himself as a “centrist” under the Reform Party. His fiscally conservative and socially liberal views had many in the press asking him if he was really a libertarian. His response was always, “I have no problem with that label.” Yet, he continued marketing himself almost post-partisan, blaming both parties for the problems of this country, and when having to use a label, he continued to call himself a “centrist” or “radical centrist”.
That November, Jesse Ventura shocked the world by defeating the two-party system in Minnesota and spending less than half a million dollars to win. Besides his minor celebrity notoriety and debate performances, what attracted people to him most was his perceived authenticity and his political positioning. He positioned himself both as an outsider, yet someone above the partisanship (something independents love).
I would suggest Ron Paul has the authenticity to change the world. Now, he needs the positioning. Having spent a decade working in television and marketing, today I make the suggestion that maybe the Ron Paul movement borrow from Ventura’s messaging strategy.
We’ve been able to push the American center from the outside for the past four years. Now, it is time that we should seek to divide and conquer the American political center from the perceived “inside”.
I can hear and understand the unease already. “Centrist” has come to mean someone who is a wishy-washy, sell-out whose decisions leave everybody unhappy but the special interest groups. But that’s not Ron Paul. That’s not Rand Paul. That’s not the liberty movement. That’s not what a sizable chunk of the Tea Party or the progressives want.
What if Ron Paul was to announce that he was part of the “growing new center” in this country where the priorities include ending our foreign wars, restoring civil liberties, and protecting the soundness of our currency and economy from corporate and special government interests.
So where does this leave modern-day wishy-washers like John McCain? He’s part of the “old center” along with the Clintons (who by the way used the title “New Democrat” to win in 92). This is the decade of the “new center” in American politics.
I can still hear some unease. What’s wrong with the “liberty movement”? What’s wrong with the “Tea Party”? Nothing in my personal opinion, but from a marketing view: Perception.
Think of the word “Centrist”. Sure, it’s vague but it’s also softer and more palatable. It’s more mainstream, sounds like it’s already accepted, and more likely to be embraced in a way that “libertarian” or “tea partier” cannot. In a way, “centrist” could fit how many people already view Ron Paul: “I like him on some things, but not others.” Well, that’s also how a lot of people view centrists.
Also, think of it psychologically and how we’re positioning ourselves against some of the biggest names in politics like McCain or Romney: The “Old Center”. Nobody wants to be “old” or “archaic”. They want to be new. So let’s start something new in the center. It certainly can’t hurt to position the 75+ year old doctor as something “new”.
Finally, I do hope no one misreads what I’m saying. This is not a call for Ron Paul to soften his views and to become a wishy-washy moderate. This is simply call for Ron Paul to soften his marketing word choice. In many ways, I’d say the GOP hijacked the phrase “Tea Party” away from the Liberty movement (similar to what they did to the Reform Party in the 90s). Instead of stealing it back, let’s steal the word “new centrist” from both parties. At its best, it's a proven winning strategy (used by Ventura) and at its worst, we’ll influence both parties as well as the current, wishy-washy American political center into thinking more liberty-like.
Whew… Anyways, it’s just a thought. Looking forward to posting on here and hopefully not getting too many "screw you's". :-) Cheers!