Politics as branding and a fashion statement

Credit: pandodaily

Francisco Dao at Pandodaily looks at the unfortunate trend of politics as branding, that who you vote for defines who you are and makes you feel good about yourself and the image you want to project. But of course, politics is way more important than lifestyle choices.

Regardless of which side of the political divide you’re on, you probably look at the opposition with confusion and disbelief. For many, trying to decipher the choices people make when they seem to vote against their self interest is an exercise in frustration, but voters aren’t as confounding as they appear. In order to make sense of a seemingly irrational body politic, one need only ignore the rules of economics and apply the rules of fashion and branding.

Fashion is almost always economically irrational. It has nothing to do with what’s good for us and everything to do with defining how we see ourselves and what image we want to project.

This explains why the two candidates rarely discuss anything meaningful much less controversial. Why risk potential backlash from voters should you mention Mexico drug cartels, the euro crisis, crime in high places, or real solutions for the recession. Because, gosh, it’s so much more important to focus your spin / pitch at left-handed soccer moms in the Midwest (or whoever the focus of the hour is on) then say something contradictory the next day in attempts to appeal to retired urban Hispanics. Truth and reality need not intrude and are unwelcome.

But therein lies the problem. Treating politics as branding does not lead to real solutions. Politics is not a fashion statement. It has deep and lasting effects on all of us.