Donald Trump Re-brands the Republican Party


Few people understand branding as does our president-elect.
The fact is that he might well be looked upon by slightly over half the nation
as little other than a brand. But he knows
the territory
and what he chooses to do with his first term will linger for
generations in his party. Let’s discuss what is at stake.

The Republican Party has slowly
devolved (some might say been captured) by its wilful outreach to a base,
formerly held by the Democratic Party in the South and left up-for-grabs by
Lyndon Johnson’s passage of the Civil Rights Bill. The tail has somehow come to
wag the dog. 
Its devolution was further tied to twenty-five years of increasing
intransigence, highlighted and powered by Grover Norquist’s pledge by all
Republicans to never raise taxes under
any circumstance
. Norquist was elected by no one, but he prevailed and a
party that cannot negotiate on
something as vital to American interests as taxes finds itself unable to
negotiate anything of value. 
Thus Republicans became the party of stalemate, with little
to say to their Congressional adversaries but no. The seeds of gridlock grew into weeds of discontent across
America. Washington no longer worked, Americans knew it and both parties
suffered the wrath of their constituencies. 
As years, now decades rolled by with
an immobilized Congress, frozen in Grover Norquist’s headlights and
increasingly dependent upon their shrinking bases, fewer and fewer citizens
even took the time and interest to vote. Candidates, both liberal and
conservative, were no longer able to deliver what they promised. So, where do
we go from here, with a presidential upset that’s rattled the history books off
the shelves?
Trump and his party have an interesting,
perhaps historic opportunity. They control or (in the case of the Supreme
Court) will soon control all three Constitutional levers of government. The Republican
Brand is vulnerable, but their
opportunity is beyond imagining
. A party on its knees and desperate just
weeks before the election has been transformed overnight by a knockout punch by
an outsider even they disdained. 
They can use it in vengeance to destroy the precious little accomplished
by eight years of deadlock and trash a sitting president’s legacy in a
hissy-fit or… reshape a future in their name that will broaden
and strengthen a Party that only a month ago gazed into the abyss. 
There are choices. 
One choice is to co-opt
those Democratic promises that actually bring us together as a stronger nation and
Brand them in the Republican Name. 
The neocon-hated Obamacare could be dumped and surely will
be dumped, leaving 20 million Americans without any healthcare at all. Or, it
could finally be provided with its much-needed public option and rebranded as Republicare
Suddenly it becomes a wildly popular program, extending its coverage to an additional 40 million citizens who
desperately need it. That’s a total 60 million who vote. The Republican Brand becomes more powerful.
Climate change is another obvious target for establishing
the Republican Brand. Initiated during the Republican presidencies of Ronald
Reagan and George Bush senior, it holds a historic link to the party, long
since abandoned. Trump simply cannot be allowed
to believe it is not a viable and vital issue
A sustainable,
environmentally progressive move away from fossil-fuels can and must carry the
Republican Brand during a Republican sweep of all three levers of power in
Washington. The REP (Republican Environmental Policy) Act could and should make
that Brand universal, enormously spreading its power internationally and
bringing significant numbers of Democrats their way. 
No pipelines, an end to fracking and significant moves in
the direction of renewable energy will put them on the wrong end of Exxon and
the right end of history. Renewables are the future, as China, Saudi, Germany and
multiple nations already know. 
Any Brand Manager knows you ride a rising rather
than an ebbing tide. Donald Trump may be many things, most of them panicking
half the nation, but he is above all
a man who now jingles the keys to his party in his pocket.
And The Donald can go from there
on countless issues, if he so chooses
and if he sells his party on their
incredible opportunity. In all the current controversy, one thing is undeniable
. . . Trump is a first-class salesman and a Master of the Brand.
Harry Truman famously said “it’s amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the
credit
.” Doubling down on that, it’s amazing what a party you can build if
you take the credit for accomplishing
the goals your opponents promised and couldn’t deliver.
Will he do that? Not bloody likely, but what an opportunity missed.

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