As much as I think Gary Johnson would be an awesome guy to hang out with and talk politics with, I wish we had more of a statesman to represent the first real attempt at putting a Libertarian in the White House!
Why do I say that?
There is so much dissatisfaction with both parties, not to mention the loathing felt by most people towards those parties’ choices for candidates, that we are seeing huge masses of people looking for a viable 3rd party option.
However it’s not enough to “not be Clinton or Trump”; if people are going to switch from one of the two mainstream parties and vote Libertarian in November, they’re going to need some damn good, coherent, and easy to remember policies. They’re going to need to know who Johnson and Weld are, and why they should be handed the keys to the White House.
This means that both men will have to stop just appealing primarily to a Libertarian audience and find a way to excite Republicans and Democrats into getting behind an unstoppable Libertarian machine!
The question is how.
How can Gary Johnson and Bill Weld convince enough voters to make the switch to a 3rd party this November?
Studies have shown that in the business world it costs 5 times more to bring in a new customer than it does to keep an existing one! This is referring to the amount of investment that company A needs to make in order to inform a new customer of what they provide.
The first step is showing a cohesive outline of what it is the company provides and why that should matter to the customer, how the product or service is going to improve the life of the customer. This is usually done by showing a removal of some kind of pain that the customer is experiencing financial, physical or otherwise. The next step is to gain credibility in the customer’s mind! Businesses do this by constantly reminding you that they exist! How many times have you seen a Budweiser commercial? Does ‘ba da ba ba ba’ followed by “I’m lovin it!” mean anything to you? The more easily you recognize a brand, the more likely you are to pick it over a generic brand when given a choice; even if the generic brand sometimes costs less or could potentially suit your needs better. This phenomenon is clearest among inexperienced customers!
In the end though, the purpose of all this effort is to convince you, the customer, that the value of switching over to company A is worth the cost, and also worth your time and effort to “give it a try”. It is much easier to stick with a brand that has been tried and proven than it is to try something new. To steal a statement from an article on branding psychology:
“The world’s most memorable brands tend to distinguish themselves in the connotation — not just the denotation — of the value proposition. Brand builders strive to create just the right connotation for the brand in the mind of its target audience… It starts and ends with what people think — or, more accurately, what a brand can inspire people to think.”
– “Brand Psychology” by PeopleDesign.com
According to AdAge.com companies like McDonald’s and Budweiser spent over $1 billion on advertising in 2012.
And don’t forget, you are also reminded of them every time you drive two blocks and see another set of golden arches, or sit down at a restaurant with Bud coasters, walk into a grocery store for Budweiser BBQ sauce, or sit down to watch almost any sports game!
Why do I bring all this up?
Because it is important to understand what the Libertarian Party is up against in this election! See, Trump and Clinton are Budweiser and MacDonald’s! Hillary Clinton alone has raised almost $335 million to spend on her campaign! That’s right; she is able to advertise and promote her brand with almost the same kind of spending as General Electric, the multinational Fortune 500 conglomerate!
So where does Gary Johnson even begin?
Well, I would say a lot more of this won’t hurt:
But we will still need more!
To win over a customer, you need to ensure there are a few key steps in place.
These steps are not necessarily in order of importance; but you will need them all in place before your customer is going to be willing to try your product!
1. Find out what they want. In this case your customer is the voting public, the Democrats and Republicans. Why are they voting? What’s causing so many to vote for Donald Trump and why is it that has so many members of the party are abstaining from supporting him? How about Bernie supporters (aka the Occupy crowd)? What message would cause them to rethink, or even just overlook their biases about capitalism and libertarianism? How about Democrats? Why are they voting for Hillary Clinton and why do so many dislike her?
2. Once you’ve figured out what it is your customer is looking for, you now need to show them how you can solve their problem, or at least that you will solve it better than your competition! How can the Libertarian Party platform be the solution to the reasons why usual card-carrying Republicans and Democrats are abandoning their candidates?
3. You need to build credibility! The people want to know that whatever problem they are currently experiencing, you’ve got it now! That you mean what you say, and follow through but also that you are capable of doing what you promise!
4. After all that, you now need to prove to them that this risk they are about to take by choosing you is the best option they have, that the reward for them is so great that its worth overcoming the inertia of the current norm.
This is all a little generic, because there is just too much detail to include in just one article, however if I could make a suggestion or two.
Please make your message simple and clear. Something that will appeal to the layman who has a life of his or her own to worry about but wants to make sure they’ve chosen the best candidate for the job! Make it memorable, use those despicable soundbites! People remember what triggered their emotions, so it needs to make people laugh, cry, or worry that if you are not president, there will be a significant loss in their personal lives (and there will be).
Stop talking about how you personally smoke weed! It’s okay to advocate for it, but the more you say you use it the more you marginalize yourself! People want their president to be capable of the momentous task that is the Presidency. They need to be assured that whoever holds that office is able to be strong, be wise and basically be their superman! You need to be the one who will defend the Constitution and the country; not be busy smoking bowls in the Oval Office! I know you said you won’t do any kind of drugs in the White House, but the mental picture for the average voter is still the President with a bong on the Resolute Desk!
And lastly, talk about the issues that are important for the country! Ron Paul caught the hearts of the now libertarian core when he got up and literally went against the status quo with facts, logic, and an obvious concern for what were (and still are) extremely pressing issues! He changed the entire conversation, and framed the Republican debates going forward with the need for fiscal reform, and might I add… common sense!
We need those conversations again, we need someone to talk about freedom, to talk about fiscal responsibility, to talk about the need to stay out of the regime change game, and the need for a move toward liberty!
Explain how liberty would affect the lives of average Americans! How it would affect the farmer, the LGBT person, the police officer, the single mother, and the business owner! Show them how much better their lives can be, with four years of liberty as opposed to four more years of the same old Washington crowd!