Republicans are once again setting themselves up to lose the biggest election of our lifetimes. Sure they have plenty of money, lots of ads on television, and enough lectures, debates and white papers to stay on the radar for all eternity. Yet, no matter how many times they talk about it, Republicans are still missing the one thing that could actually get them the votes they desperately need to win. They are once again missing the boat on popular culture.
No matter how you slice it, popular culture trumps politics every time. Why? Simple – because logic and rational arguments are not cool, they are not fun, they are not easy and they are not inspirational. Pop culture on the other hand, is all of these things. Pop culture is what we do every day. Pop culture influences what we say, what we think, what we watch, how we dress, what we eat, what we buy and how we act. Ultimately, pop culture is what defines us both as people and as Americans.
Yet the vast majority of Conservatives don’t get that, even though Breitbart made it clear when he said, "The left is smart enough to understand the way to change a political system is through its cultural systems." Yes, the left is certainly smart when it comes to recognizing the power of subliminal messaging to shape public opinion – especially as opposed to the more obtrusive approach of speeches, debates and rational dialogue that barely even begin to scratch the surface.
But aside from being smart about it and creating and endless stream of content, the Left has been successful in taking over pop culture largely as a result of their control of the mainstream media. That being said, conservatives have a lot of work to do to get some quality content out there. For example, the conservative pop culture panel at CPAC this year was an absolute disgrace. There were four guys sitting on a stage lecturing about how liberal the entertainment industry is and how much conservatives need pop culture, yet none of them showed us a single thing. Nothing. Not showcasing what’s out there, or who the organizations are that could help promote pop culture or even how to make it happen. Just a bunch of guys droning on while the audience sat there falling asleep. I hate to say this, but that was an absolute embarrassment.
Then again, the vast majority of political meetings we all go to are nothing but one big (and usually boring) social event. Everyone talks over each other, complains, moans and incessantly promotes their pet project to a room full of other people all doing the same thing. The end result is that everyone leaves with nothing ever getting done. THE MESSAGE NEVER GETS OUT OF THE ROOM. The only thing that does happen is money goes from one pocket to the other to fund the same old TV commercials, the same speeches, the same advertisements and the same first class airfare for the same people to fly to the same five-star hotels all over the country to repeat the same cycle over and over and over again.
But pop culture is different. Pop culture can actually spread and expand a message. Pop culture is fun. Pop culture is embraced and promoted – consciously and subconsciously – by millions and millions of people 24 hours a day. Pop culture is subtle and habitualized, as opposed to politics which is jarring, boring, repulsive and worst of all – completely ineffective.
Let me make this clear, the biggest problem conservatives face in the upcoming election is appealing to younger people. The powers that be need to recognize that the swing vote in this (and all) elections is the younger demographic and the only way to get that vote is by changing people’s perception of what is cool. If conservatives can’t do that, everything else they do is a complete waste of time. You can make all speeches you want, but in the end pop culture trumps politics every time. Mitt, Karl, Shelly Adelson, Harold Simmons, David Koch - are you guys listening?
Richard Mgrdechian is President CEO of Purple Eagle Entertainment and manager of the massively popular pro-American rock band Madison Rising. He expects Madison Rising to be the crest of a massive wave that sweeps through American pop culture over the next few years and creates what liberals fear most – a truly level playing field.