Really worth reading, written with genius by Seth Godin)
Elections are the only place where marketers try to get fewer people to buy what’s being sold.
In many elections, fewer than half the population votes. Which means, of course, that in most elections, not only doesn’t the winner get a majority, the winner wasn’t even chosen by a majority of the majority. We make it worse with gerrymandering and arcane vote counting.
It turns out that depressing voter turnout is a shortcut for the selfish political marketer. It’s easier to get your opponent’s supporters to become disgusted enough to stay home than it is to actually encourage people to proactively vote for you.
When non-electoral marketers try to learn from political examples, we get confused by all of this. The fact that it’s a one-shot event, that a bare majority is the goal (most marketing doesn’t have to win a majority, it merely needs to matter to enough people) and that decreasing turnout is a valid strategy all add up to make politics a special case.
Blue Bottle Coffee doesn’t succeed against Starbucks by getting people to not drink coffee at all. Nor do they need to sell more than half the coffee sold. All that a non-political marketer needs to do is find enough raving fans. If politicians learned this lesson, I think we’d all be better off.
It’s not an accident we’re disgusted. Politicians spend billions of marketing dollars to create the belief that voting is something that’s better to avoid.
They teach us that it’s not a responsibility we want to take.
They make it feel like a hassle.
They don’t invest in making it a chance to build community and connection.
Too often the incumbents are liked by a minority, respected by an even smaller group and particularly bad at the job. And if many of the registered voters turned out, each would lose in a heartbeat.
The solution is simple, fast and cheap. Show up and vote. Every time.
Once politicians realize that we’re immune to their cynical tricks, they’ll stop using them.
Show up and vote. It’ll make a difference.