Strategic Memo to Hillary: Call For “Real Progress”


hillary-logo-hed-2015Hillary Clinton is clearly the most qualified person running for president in either party but she has a problem: She has no strategic message, no over-arching statement that illuminates her values, purpose or direction.

“I’m With Her” and “Ready for Hillary” are crap. Not only are they focused on her and not us, they tell us nothing about where or how Clinton would lead us into the future.

For all their faults, Donald Trump – “Make America Great Again” – and Bernie Sanders – “A Future You Can Believe In” – at least make thematic assertions around which their supporters can rally and which give shape and form to their campaigns.

Clinton is great on prosaic specifics and her granular knowledge of policy is unmatched. But except for the fact that she’d be the first woman president – and that’s not nothing – she has no political poetry, no rallying cry, no umph.

Get Real, Hillary Our proposal for Clinton – and she’s free to steal this as soon as possible – is this: “Real Progress.”

This has the advantage of contrasting with Bernie’s frenetic idealism and it co-opts his claim to be the only progressive in the race. It’s also what Clinton stands for, which has the advantage of being consistent and truthful.

flex-your-powerAt least 50% of your Calbuzzers have been harping on the need for Democrats to develop a strategic message for at least a decade. We even came up with a few ourselves in earlier incarnations of ourselves, including “Flex Your Power” for California’s energy conservation program.

According to John Halpin and Ruy Teixeira: The starting point for all political organizing and campaigns should be: “What are my core beliefs and principles and how do I best explain them to supporters and skeptics alike?”

A strategic message is what John Kerry never had. And why no one could tell you what he stood for. Bill Clinton called for a New Covenant in 1992. Barack Obama called for “Change You Can Believe In” in 2008. Both of these stand up well to other great strategic messages, to name a few:

— A New Deal
— Peace, land and bread
— Compassionate conservatism
— Great society
— Liberty, equality and fraternity
— Morning in America

Words That Last These are more than slogans – but slogans are important too. A slogan is a memorable phrase used in a political or commercial context as a repetitive expression of an idea or purpose. The word “slogan” comes from sluagh-ghairm (pronounced slogorm), which is Scottish Gaelic for “battle-cry”.

mmgoodJust to demonstrate how powerful and lasting a slogan can be, let’s play a little slogan trivia. See how quickly you can identify these:

— All the news that’s fit to print. (1896)
— Speak softly and carry a big stick (1904)
— When it rains, it pours (1911)
— Mmm mmm good (1935)
— A little dab’ll do you. (1949)
— Finger lickin’ good. (1952)
— I like Ike (1952)
— It takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’ (1956)
— We try harder. (1962)
— All power to the people (1967)
— The Uncola (1973)
— Don’t leave home without it. (1975)
— Just do it. (1988)

In short, Hillary needs a bumper-sticker message that also serves as a rallying cry. “Fighting For You” is so old and tired, nobody is buying it.

The bill is in the mail.

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There are 3 comments for this post

  1. avatar smoker1 says:

    “I will execute”.

  2. avatar tonyseton says:

    I question your first comment that she is most qualified. She’s held a lot of positions, but not performed well in any of them. From her messing up the health care “reform” discussions when she was First Lady to her vote to invade Iraq as a Senator to accumulating frequent flier miles without accomplishing anything as Secretary of State. She is a hawk. She suckles Wall Street. She lies. And worst — most dangerous for our country’s future — is that she has no soul. That’s why she has no message. Just because she looks best to you at the moment, doesn’t mean you have to so ardently support her. There are months to go before the convention, and then months more to the election. In the meantime, please hold up a banner for higher standards.

    • avatar Cath says:

      Oh please, enough with the evil Hillary remarks. Every democrat underestimated the insurance company’s virulent response to health care reform round one. Moreover, their success in attacking her as an out of touch feminist spoke more to the Democratic party’s underlying misogyny. She later helped bring about health care bill to children in Clinton’s second term. As a senator she fought to give health care to 9/11 first responders.

      Yes, she’s a hawk but so is most of America. Moreover, Kerry mimics her hawkishness as does Obama.

      Oh sorry these are actually people who have won or held national office sand wielded power. Whoops.

      The banner than needs waving is one saying “we are over the Clintons winning despite coming from a small Southern State and not kissing our asses.” But instead democratic elites continue to snipe at her while remaining safe in their liberal bastions. Guess what if the Republicans win this one, it’s all over (given Court and their general craziness).

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