Patrick Ruffini is a very smart man. He posted this on Facebook last night.
While there’s rightfully talk about making them smarter and more data-driven and efficient, this is meaningless without creating a real emotional connection with voters and getting the relationship with the supporter right. We can’t be all brain and no heart.
That’s exactly, 100% right. It’s something I’ve come to accept over the past few years, especially the Obama years. While issues do matter to some extent, and campaigns and tactics surely matter too, the emotional connection that a candidate makes with potential voters can make or break their career. Especially at the presidential level, where many voters vote symbolically rather than on qualifications, character or issues.
Barack Obama has understood this more deeply, and longer, than most of us. Well, either he understands it or his advisers like David Axelrod understand it. Either way, or probably both, explain quite a bit about why he has won two presidential elections despite being unqualified the first time around, and an obvious failure the second. He had established an emotional bond with enough voters that they didn’t care about the details. They liked him, and that was enough. Plus his IRS had suppressed conservative groups.
Ever since he began his presidency, Obama has tended to avoid specifics in his speeches, while pursuing policies mostly through regulations. Regulations don’t need congressional input. The regulatory state is harder to track. Obama can defer to the EPA, DHS, HHS, whatever, whenever one of his regulations causes him any political problems. Or he can blame Bush, one of the progressives’ Emmanuel Goldsteins. The Koch brothers serve that role now, too, as the Bush presidency fades from memory and more Americans are realizing that compared to Barack Obama, W wasn’t so bad after all.
Back to the emotional connection. Barack Obama has been making some odd moves as his world burns seems to be burning down around him. He is sliding badly in the polls. America is getting a case of buyer’s remorse over electing him. His presidency is a rump of what it was up to 2011. Even many of the congressional Democrats don’t really trust him. Candidates like Wendy Davis won’t even be seen with him.
While Putin and ISIS march forward, Obamacare remains a mess, the economy remains stagnant, etc etc, Barack Obama pops out for lunch at Chipotle. And makes a point to let everyone know about it.
It backfired on him, a little, because Barack Obama is a cad.
That was a week ago, during a parenting summit. As a parent, I’ll state categorically that Barack Obama has been the worst president for parents since Bill Clinton turned cigars into sex toys. Clinton hauled politics into the gutter and polluted the meaning of “is.” Obama’s assault has been against our ability to make a living, and against the churches we belong to to teach our children our faith, and against our property and religious rights. Plus Obama just can’t get enough of Planned Parenthood, the industry/lobbyist/special interest built upon abortion.
The parenting summit was obviously a play for suburban vote, the soccer mom vote, the middle class vote. It was mostly to blunt charges that his policies are subversive and anti-family. See here, he’s having a whole summit on families!
What he was actually doing was creating more anger among some women voters over equal pay, an issue he supposedly resolved with the stroke of a pen years ago.
But for lunch, why Chipotle?
Companies and restaurants are now especially feeling the Millennial affect because the population dines out and purposefully spends in ways more different than ever, and now that their spending power has increased, companies have no choice but to follow suit and appeal to them the best way they know how.
If you think the Millenials’ influence can’t be that dramatic yet, just ask McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) if its business has been affected by the maturation of the huge generation. The world’s largest fast food chain once had drive-thru lines spiraling out of parking lots, but now the restaurant is faced with a new generation that is focused on health and fresh ingredients to such a degree that consumers have never been before. Barkley reports that 26 percent of the generation considers themselves health fanatics, and thus, the likelihood of those Generation Y’ers visiting McDonald’s every night is lower than ever, and that reality is only expected to continue.
McDonald’s is still in the top ten restaurants for millennials. But look which chain comes in at numero uno.
1. Chipotle (NYSE:CMG)
Last, but certainly not least, America’s favorite Mexican grill. Almost half of all those Millennials surveyed byGlobalHue noted Chipotle as their favorite fast food brand, and the company boasts an impressive 46 percent figure. Generation Y’ers are drawn to the Denver, Colorado-based company’s fresh salads, meaty burritos, and infamous guacamole, and colleges are even noticing the trend as more and more campuses recruit the Mexican restaurant to set up shop on their grounds.
Chipotle’s stock has risen significantly within the past few quarters as it continues gaining popularity and new consumers, and its latest earnings still even managed to live up to lofty expectations.
Along the same lines, he has made a very grand show of paying attention to the US run in the World Cup. He crashed a watch party, led a chant on camera, and called up Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard after the US loss to Belgium.
Because millennials rate the World Cup as the top story that they’re paying attention to. More than the IRS scandal, more than the VA scandal, more than any scandal, more than the Middle East and even the economy.
That will probably change now that the US is out.
If I’m right about this, that Obama’s choice of lunch and sports comes down to his attempt to hold onto the millennial vote by keeping their emotional connection with him, even while his economic policies are screwing them over, then watch for him to pop out to a Panera, a Subway, or a Taco Bell before long. He’s one of us! He cares about what we care about! He listens to the music we listen to! He eats where we eat! He likes the five dollar — five dollar footlong!
And I’m still jobless and living in my parents’ basement!
Taco Bell would give him a two-fer — it’s #4 with millennials and probably #1 with stoners. Taco Bell is also climbing with Hispanic customers.