You may have heard that [gubernatorial candidate Dino] Rossi and 27 other Republican candidates in our state will not allow the word "Republican" to appear next to their name on the ballot.
Thanks to the new Top Two primary, candidates can choose what party label they want on the ballot in November. As we reported on June 11th, Dino Rossi will have "Prefers G.O.P. party" next to his name, which is clearly a scheme to avoid having the word "Republican" next to his name.
Or as one of their candidates admits in this newscast:
"There's 30 percent of the people in this state that would not vote for a Republican no matter what, and we want to get around that..."
A few reactions...
This is one damaged brand. Maybe all it takes is a quagmire of a war, the gutting of the Constitution, the trashing of America's international reputation, massive negligence and incompetence during a natural disaster, a recession, the subprime crisis, etc., etc., ad infinitum or nauseum, whichever comes first.
In Arizona, where I live, the code for "Republican" seems to be "conservative." Even in the most Republican reaches of the Phoenix sprawl, I rarely see campaign signs labeling the candidate as Repub. Maybe it's not considered necessary. But I wonder if the word "conservative" is going to be mud, too, before much longer. Maybe I'm getting carried away.
Let me to go out on a limb anyway. I see an analogy with country music.
(Bear with me, regardless of what you think of the music. I'll just limit myself to saying I never hear the acts I really enjoy, like Roseanne Cash, on the radio.)
Marketers tried for years to reach a younger audience with country music. One thing they found -- citation needed, I know -- was that that audience did not mind "country." But they didn't like "dumb," and that was the stereotype that C&W music had to overcome. It's worked to some extent.
I suspect Republicans and conservatives are going to have a similar problem with younger voters. It's not just a matter of intelligence (though what was your very first impression of W.?), but also a matter of cluelessness.
In 2004, the Dems should have put ads with Zell Miller's meltdown on The Daily Show or reality TV. And they should have bought ad space for clips from the Bush twins' convention speech during Law 'n' Order or JAG.
If I were buying ads for the Dems today, I think I'd show more footage of the Repub primary candidates trying hard to out-Gitmo each other, to out-cheer the currently booming economy.