Op-Eds

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Obama Marketing Trumps Republican Product

The Obama Inauguration allows voters the opportunity to finally see his administration’s definite policies, while for Republicans, Obama’s victory tells us one thing: Republicans need to renovate their national campaign strategy in order to compete with the new political environment developed by Barack Obama.

In this election, campaign rhetoric has transformed from discussing policy plans to focusing on the candidate’s vision for success. Although the first is more direct, Obama’s vague rhetoric greatly appeals to the American public and energizes his supporters to not only vote, but to work actively in his campaign.

The object of campaigns is to win. In Obama’s case, he has manipulated the system in order to master the campaign.

Unfortunately for the Republicans, old campaigning tactics were deemed ineffective when the political environment was remodeled by Obama’s strategy.

Before the 2008 election, the effective campaign tactic was to mobilize a candidate’s voter base. Instead, Obama has campaigned extensively to gain the support of previously apathetic or moderate citizens with compelling yet vague rhetoric, which motivates Americans to register to vote or switch party in order to develop a new group of supporters for the Obama campaign. This tactic lacks definite policy positions allowing for flexibility when the candidate is expected to own up to campaign promises.

The Republican loss came not from its policies but the failure to market to these new audiences. Communication strategies have been developed to the point where use of social Web sites and e-mail was a leading factor in Obama’s campaign success.

Republicans need to appeal to the public through more energetic and involving programs.

Through the Web site, Obama had the ability to raise large amounts of money. Republicans were less able to use the Internet in the 2008 campaign and can attribute this to their failure. Use of cell phones on the campaign trail also became a breakthrough tactic on the Obama campaign. Young voters felt involved when they received a text message through the campaign. The vice presidential nomination of Democratic Senator Joe Biden was released via text message to many Obama supporters.

Many of the voters who have been motivated by Obama to participate in the election are inexperienced voters are less educated on policies and more motivated by the excitement of Obama’s vision.

Republicans need to appeal to the public through more energetic and involving programs. Republican discussion in the campaign was very direct and specific, which alienated some voters on issues that required precise policy as opposed to general positions. Republicans have spent much time constructing their policies and not discussing their overall goals with the public. When dealing with less experienced voters introduced to the campaign, it is difficult to appeal with specific plans that require prior knowledge.

Does the Republican Party need to change its policy platform in order to better appeal to the American public? Absolutely not, sticking to original GOP beliefs are principal, but prioritizing our issues in order to appeal to the American voters is required.

The new system of Obama politics has pushed aside Republican issues such as bans on abortion and gun rights and brought to the surface those issues that affect voters on a daily basis such as the economy and the war. Not only does Obama’s argument seem more feasible because it is constantly affecting voters, but there are also reminders of those issues every time a voter pumps gas into their car, pays their mortgage payment, or reads about fighting in Iraq.

The Republicans spend too much time focusing on campaigning for pro-life policies and protecting gun rights. While these are issues that Republicans need to protect, and should still pursue in office, they are not the most important issues to a majority of voters. Republicans need to campaign on the issues that have surfaced as more important to most voters or they will continue to BE out of touch.

This by all means does not mean abandoning those principals that Republicans revere; as an avid Christian and conservative I believe that morality cannot be forgotten. When we lose sight of what we truly believe in we lose direction and accomplish nothing.

The Republican Party is dealing with a new set of rules forced on them by Obama politics and now has to cope with adapting a new campaign strategy. As Obama’s Inaugural address reveals his policies and programs that he has in store for Americans, the Republicans will have to cope with developing new tactics to appealing to the public’s wants and needs. Obama’s victory shows that the Republicans need better marketing not a better product.

David Sill is a Juniata student from Hollidaysburg, Pa. and president of the Blair County Young Republicans.