Friday, February 26, 2016

February 26, 2016--Politico-Babble

Thus far my tally is 22 and 37. Twenty-two "lanes" and 37 "paths."

Last election cycle everyone was talking about "brands" and "narratives."

Were Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, and Herman Cain running for president or teasing that they might do so because they seriously thought they had a chance to be nominated--forget elected--or were they running to enhance their brands, their ability to command top-dollar speaker fees and secure seven-figure book deals?

And then what about poor Mitt Romney's ability to explain and represent himself to voters? it was said that a coherent and attractive narrative was missing. In fact, running up to his eventual nomination, all his rivals were criticized for the same thing--the lack of a convincing narrative about how their life stories and experiences wove together into a plausible and engaging picture that plain folks could understand and within which find at least a semblance of authenticity.

Four years ago, this politico-babble was purloined from the world of marketing and advertising. It was thought--still is--that unless a product or service has a strong brand identity (read essence) it would not stand out, would languish. This was especially true if that product or service didn't include a compelling narrative that people could relate to and thereby eventually consider purchasing.

This time around, if you listen carefully, as I have been attempting to do, on the cable news networks and in publications commenting on the primaries and caucuses, you'll hear all about paths and lanes.

Once I tuned into this I've been keeping a tally of how often these are used to explain the state of the Republican and Democratic campaigns. Particulalry, how individual candidates are faring.

At this point is is being noted that as Hillary Clinton and Donald TRUMP widen their leads, it is difficult to chart a path to the nomination for _____ .

Fill in the blank with, say John Kasich, who continues to claim he is a legitimate candidate, not just in it to polish his brand (he does at least have a credible narrative) or increasingly Bernie Sanders whose now unlikely path to the Democratic nomination requires him to get about 55 percent of the votes through the mega-primaries of March. A long and winding path for sure.

And, to make matters worse, what lane or lanes are open for Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio? Cruz's big-picture strategy from the beginning was the Evangelical Lane. With a charismatic preacher for a father (a Cuban Canadian citizen no less), a well-worn bible, and a copy of the Constitution close at hand, this was his lane and should have stood him in good stead in Iowa (it did with a few dirty tricks thrown in to help) and was supposed to then be wide open for him in South Carolina.

But TRUMP riled these plans, blocking Cruz's lane much like the way Chris Crispy blocked those leading to the George Washington Bridge.

And Rubio's lane was supposed to be the one leading to establishment support. Jeb Bush and John Kasich made a bit of a mess of that--if not blocking it, minimally trying to wedge their way into it, which is why there is so much pressure from Rubio supporters, especially after last night's effective debate for Rubio, for Kasich to drop out this week, if possible today, so with Jeb also out of the way that lane would be wide open for Marco.

Maybe Rubio will try to make a deal, promising to name Kasich his vice presidential running mate. On the other hand, TRUMP may have already made that deal with the Ohio governor--to stay in the race, blocking Rubio's until the convention and then . . .

Rubio should live so long. Kasich is going nowhere. He can live on, campaigning on fumes and to whom do you think Kasich would prefer to be second banana?  Rubio? TRUMP?

I have no idea how these politico-babble terms leach their way into the tsunamic vocabulary of political chatter, but there you are.


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