Yesterday’s historic U.S. election was not just a momentous victory for Donald Trump, it should be a big lesson for the Democratic Party.
Steer clear of elitism. Tell a simple story. And make it a hero’s journey.
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I know, I know.
Just a few months ago, I said that Donald Trump would destroy the Republican Party as we know it. While the GOP will go through massive changes over the next few months and years, the Democratic Party will have to.
Reinvent or die!
By definition, reinvention requires unconventional measures.
And that requires a bold story.
Hillary Clinton’s story was really not an unconventional one, nor was it a Hero’s Journey.
While she was, indeed, the poster child for many college-educated women who understandably wanted to see the glass ceiling broken in such a high-profile platform like the American presidency, and while she had the character and competence to get things done from the Oval Office, Hillary wasn’t a true hero in storytelling terms.
Hillary has been a Washington Insider for 24 for years.
Twenty. Four. Years!
And that’s what many people liked about The Donald. Yeah, he was a reported billionaire, but he was an outsider who, at least with regards to presidential politics, came out of nowhere. Like many heroes, he has as many enemies as he has friends… arguably more.
Obviously Hillary wasn’t loved by more than half of the electorate. The primary reason? Hers wereÂ friends in high places.
That was her biggest exposure. Elitism does not a hero maketh.
It doesn’t make a great story, and it doesn’t appeal to the emotional side of the brain.
The biggest problem for the Democrats over the past two decades has been, in my not-so-humble view, they over-intellectualize. They don’t do a very good job of appealing to the emotional brain, to the heart. They speak in long paragraphs suited to an ivy league thesis.
They don’t speak to the people.
Barack Obama knew how to do this, but now that the Obama era is ending, the Democratic Party will lose its hero status, as well. It will lose its story.
But perhaps, a new hero is born…
… if, and only if, the Dems embrace him.
When Hillary beat Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary earlier this year, the party opted for the Washington Insider over the quirky, small-town potential hero who really cared about the little guy.
Bernie’s messaging was far from mainstream. It was simple. It was genuine. It was consistent.
It was discomforting for the establishment, but here you have it as the headline of today’s New York Times: Donald is Elected President in Stunning Repudiation of the Establishment.
Heroes are never establishment suck-ups. Bernie surely is not!
I’m sure Bernie is eying another run for the presidency in 2020. As well he should.
But will the Democrats embrace this hero? Or will they keep their ivy league noses up their ivy league asses? Will they talk in long paragraphs as the Republicans talk in sound bites?
The lesson for the Dems?
Reinvent or die.
Get a true hero.
Build a compelling story.
And in the words of Hillary’s husband, Bill Clinton, during his presidency: “Keep it simple, stupid.”
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Photo by Mike Mozart
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