The elections of 2010 were an unqualified success for conservative candidates and the conservative brand. One year hence, and the mid-term euphoria has turned into plodding, pre-presidential election doldrums. Almost literally without doing anything different, President Obama has seen his approval rating climb into the light, and his chances against all Republican comers turn in his favor. This isn’t a prognostication, I’ll not go that far onto the political limb. The game however, as Sherlock might say, is afoot. But how?
The reason for the steady turning, and the reason I feel some empathy towards cherished conservative friends and family, can be found in the first sentence of this column. The elections of 2010 were an unqualified success for the conservative brand. Conservatives have of course long held a convincing advantage over liberals in the brand war (I am sure you know more “progressives” than “liberals”, because conservatives have convinced Americans that “liberal” is a bad word). Branding is a potent tool, and it explains why so many Americans have cast so many votes against their best interests over the last three decades. Here, however, at the beginning of the 21st Century’s second decade, the tool has turned on its master. Republicans, at least those in office or who hold court on our airwaves, have become slaves to the brand.