Advertising Fatigue of American Progressivism
Millennial-aimed-Huffington Post predicted a 98% chance of a Clinton Victory and the majority of high-volume media outlets predicted similar outcomes even Donald Trump supporters found astonishment at their victory. Why was there such a disjunct between people’s perception? What caused such an echo chamber of confidence in the Democratic party? Why did the DNC’s enormously funded campaign bring such terrible return on investment?
Progressive ideologies have been the cornerstone of marketing for the Democratic Party for the last 100 years. Progressivism poses itself as morally superior to any other ideology because its fundamental product is morality. It believes in that society can be engineered from a Top-Down tactic. In concrete terms: if you’re a progressive, your eye is set on using politics and government to carry out your experiments in order to achieve social justice. In stark contrast, Classical Liberalism dictates that engineering society is not only inefficient but immoral as it shares the same tenants as Authoritarianism. For Classical Liberals, society is a mere construct of free individuals who do not coerce each other through crime, theft, or contract deception and partake in consensual activities. Classical Liberalism arguably has as much moral and ethical theories as Progressivism but it’s core proponents use rationality to support its ideology to achieve prosperity.
Any company that successfully launches an incredibly successful slew of marketing campaigns often find itself deeply in trouble when its effectiveness wears off. Companies like Kodak, Apple, Nike have all failed to relink the fire after a decade or so of market domination. Perhaps they over played their hand, maybe competitors begin winning, or simply the demographics have just changed. Whatever the case, the effectiveness wanes as each dollar spent on advertising shows diminishing returns. This 2016 Election Cycle has overtly shown that American Progressivism via the Democratic Party has fallen to said illness. At some point, the cost of advertising (Hillary Clinton’s enormous fundraised machine) has brought disappoint ROI for the Democratic party. No matter how much money it throws at media-outlets and the intelligentsia, its customers are simply not buying the product given the level of fiscal effort.
Progressivist-marketing is extremely intoxicating because it advertises to a person’s heart, while Classical Liberalism advertises to a person’s individual empowerment. Classical Liberalism’s ideal of prosperity focuses on productivity instead of morality. Two examples of this contrast can be shown in the following quotes:
- Progressive stance : “We should all have a guaranteed income to bridge the gap of income inequality.”
- Classical Liberal stance: “Find a way to get 2x the amount of work for 1/2 the effort and you’ll get more money.”
Like religion, progressivism deeply believes the problems and the solutions are all around a sense of community. In marketing, this term of belonging is very powerful and is often referred to as tribalism. Classical Liberals do not oppose tribalism so long as membership is voluntary and consensual. However, because progressives completely revolves around this communal notion, it find itself staunchly oppositional to dissent.
Thus, Progressivism has far more power to emotionally connect with people. It easily surpasses Classical Liberalism when trying to convert the tabula rasa of youth as rationality takes substantial effort to process. Progressive tactics are strikingly identical to the marketing campaigns of religious bodies which brings together disciples through faith. Progressivism’s aim for justice has found itself in ideas of higher minimum wage, rent control, income inequality, and affirmative action. While disparate ideas, it’s extremely consistent in it’s core values. Progressivist tactics are extremely procedural and are easy to follow:
- Pick a field or industry
- Analyze and group people into 2 buckets
a. Doing Better than Average or over represented
b. Doing Worse than Average or under represented
- Aggressively assert
a. as the oppressors
b. as the oppressed
Once a progressive has convinced its customer of point 3. then a successful sale is surely underway. A new progressive buys the product successfully when he’s attained the weight of a burden. When the target’s inner altruism (the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others) has been engaged, then he or she has successfully become a progressive pupil. From here, the pupil will continue to spread the ideology with other members of society as a missionary of burden. The Progressive pupil needs to be convinced that there is an actively oppressed group of people and that society has been purposefully engineered to insure such oppression. In conclusion, a progressive must fundamentally believe the society is the problem.
While it may seem very romantic to sell altruism in such a fashion, there is an extreme darker side of Progressive-marketing and it may not seem so obvious to the naked eye. Because Progressivism completely revolves around assertion of oppression, even at the expense of proof, it often uses altruism as a tool of emotional blackmail to further it’s marketing objective.
There’s a double edged sword when it comes to using morality as a product for a sale of ideology. If a campaign decides to sell moral superiority to people, then it often also needs to sell guilt. As guilt is an internal reaction of shame of committing an offense or crime. Thus, progressive emotional blackmailing needs to convince others that a. have illicitly attained status at the expense of b.
Emotional blackmailing can be used to great effect but can only be used extremely sparingly. For example: John and Carol are good friends. Carol is universally considered humorous and entertaining. She is extremely busy with multiple circles of friends and a very demanding work schedule. John and Carol both enjoy each other’s company but John wishes see to Carol more than her time allows. John frequently texts Carol, “We never hangout anymore!” and “You hang out with Sam all the time!”. This can be endearing in the beginning as it shows signs of being wanted. However with overuse, John starts to show that Carol’s limited time is some how an asset or equity for John. He communicates that he deserves some sort of privilege with Carol’s leisure. Carol begins to find this extremely taxing as John is clearly placing a burden on her conscience. Upon realization of this manipulation, Carol backs away from John finding his attempts to connect to be signs of clingy selfishness. Unfortunately, Carol has not only lost her trust with John, she has also heightened her sensitivity to subsequent manipulative encounters.
This is a very common story of emotional blackmail. John may have been successful the first few times of getting Carol to meet up but as soon as he overplays his hand, the entire tactic backfires. This transition from effective to ineffective is the inflection point between trust and distrust. Carol sees that John is interested in his entertainment at the expense of her conscience. It goes without saying that damaged trust is nearly impossible to fix, particularly after repeated offenses. As trite as the example may seem, it’s core mechanics can teach us everything we need to know about marketing using altruism. John has hit advertising fatigue, a state where subsequent attempts to probe emotional responses become impotent.
One of the most effective tactic of the Emotional Blackmail of Progressivism is the use of ‘privilege’ as a pejorative to denote the status of an oppressor. All aspects of life come with privilege but progressivism actively seeks to reinforce that privilege has been illicitly attained in order to fit the oppression narrative. Recently, privilege has been amended with ‘white’ to denote race as a form adding identity exacerbation.
Since the shadows of WWII, western civilization has deeply cowered under irrational shadow of being called a racist. Progressives have detected that labeling someone or some group of people as racist has been an extremely powerful form contrasting superiority. After all, who would want to be called a racist or even a Nazi in any situation. Using the racism sling has been so effective that it’s become an internet adage called Godwin’s Law. Members who employ Godwin’s law often, if not almost always, fail to draw rational comparisons to Hitler but to elicit shame. As we’ve seen with Carol, shame is a very effective form of marketing but has only a certain threshold until distrust firmly sets in.
In the United States, slavery has been a disgraceful mark upon society and was clearly a stark example of true institutional oppression using race as a driving force. The key components were more stark as skin color became apparent for distinguishing who were citizens (Whites) and subhuman chattle (Blacks). Although liberation from slavery and civil rights have freed Black Americans, racial tensions of the white and black dichotomy have seemly increased in the recent years.