Voting for the Lesser of Evils Three Times—THIS Time

Here in Massachusetts, we get to vote on some interesting referenda.

Lifting the Charter School Cap

One is on lifting the current cap on charter schools. These schools are publicly funded and privately run, funded primarily by a state per-pupil allotment. They range from liberal experiments in educational democracy to corporate-sponsored throwbacks to long-abandoned educational models promoting rote learning and obedience. At the moment, 32,000 Massachusetts students are on waiting lists for charter schools.

Preschool girl with a creative project. Photo by Anissa Thompson.

Preschool girl with a creative project. Photo by Anissa Thompson.

It’s important to separate whether the charter school experiment is a good thing from the funding formula. Bias disclosure: both of my kids attended charter schools for elementary through high school, so I’m a quadruple alumni parent. It’s also worth pointing out that my wife and I both attended the same New York City high school for gifted children. This was a public school, but in many ways the experience was closer to an academic-achievement-oriented charter school in today’s world.

The switch came for us when the public school second grade teacher insisted on teaching reading by lowest common denominator. Our daughter, who had always loved school through preschool, kindergarten, and first grade, very quickly started hating it. She didn’t want to sit through whole-class reading lessons using a book with two words on each page, paced to the slowest kids in the class–and the school administration was not responsive. We moved her to Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School, an arts-based school that emphasizes love of learning through multiple modalities–and she thrived there.

We worried that my son, five years younger than my daughter, could have been a bullying victim in the traditional public school, as I was. He was a sensitive, feminine, non-sports-playing classical musician, avid reader, and a member of a tiny ethnic minority in our town. And our town’s school culture is heavily focused on sports. But he did well in the zero-bullying-allowed culture at Hilltown. Both of my kids went on to thrive in the performing arts charter high school they attended afterward (which was, incidentally, much more ethnically and racially diverse than our town public school). My son drew on that training to attend a major music conservatory for both his undergrad and graduate studies.

Hilltown also did its best to follow its mission and be a lab school for new educational methods, which it was eager to share with other area schools. However, the school’s outreach efforts were rebuffed over and over again. My wife was on the board for a while, and she told me how almost every outreach gesture was brushed away by the local traditional public schools.

I vote an enthusiastic yes for the idea of charter schools–but the funding formula borders on criminal IMHO. Removing resources from the traditional public schools just adds to the spiral of despair, increases bureaucracy, denies resources to kids who are in many cases already begging for more, and cuts off real learning.

Yet I will vote for more charter schools–because they were there for my kids when traditional public schools failed them–but reluctantly, because I think the funding formula strikes a blow against public schools with every student who leaves.  And whether or not the vote passes, I think we charter school supporters have to be part of fixing that rotten funding formula. And as a vote to give a few of those 32,000 waitlisted students the same opportunities my children enjoyed.

Recreational Marijuana

I will also vote, reluctantly, for pot legalization, though I don’t like the way the industry is moving. I see it becoming another outpost that extracts money from the poor, uses questionable marketing tactics, and encourages people to detach from reality rather than step up to the plate and work for change. It’s also likely to concentrate clout in the hands of a few big players, squeezing out any mom-and-pop businesses. And I worry about fostering a culture of chemical dependence, and of course I worry about problems when people drive while stoned.

However, we already have all of that, with alcohol. And pot is actually a much more socially benign form of blocking the real world than alcohol. Pot smokers don’t get aggressive or violent, and don’t drive nearly as dangerously, as drunks. And criminalizing this behavior causes deep and lasting damage. It:

  • Ruins the lives of people who are using a much milder drug than many legal ones
  • Diverts scarce law enforcement and criminal justice resources away from crimes that actually hurt people
  • Causes a tremendous financial burden to taxpayers (it’s not cheap to keep someone in jail for several years) and contributes to prison overcrowding
  • Builds the criminal infrastructure (alcohol prohibition was what really made the Mafia a force to be reckoned with)
  • Jacks up prices to levels that may lead to property crime

Once again, I’m voting for the lesser of evils. Criminalization is a failed solution.

The Presidential Race

And yes, dammit, I will vote reluctantly for a deeply flawed Democratic presidential candidate who in many other years might not get my vote, even though I live in a “safe” state where I could vote third-party, and have voted for independent candidates in the past.

I want such an overwhelming margin of defeat for Trump’s agenda of racism bullying, misogyny, lying, cheating his suppliers, suppression of the media, egomania, etc.  that he never shows his face in politics again. Let’s compare Clinton and Trump:

I could go on and on. If you want more, start with longtime political observer Adolph Reed’s article, Vote for the Lying Neoliberal Warmonger: It’s Important. And to those on the Left who say a Trump presidency would revitalize the opposition, I would respond that repression doesn’t often create a climate of change. For every success like the freedom struggles in South Africa and India, there are many more like Prague Spring being crushed by the Russians–where the hopes and reams of the people are squashed like bugs. We didn’t see a popular uprising during Reagan’s or even George W. Bush’s presidency; why would we suddenly see one under Trump and his suppression of the press?

In other words, I find myself facing the lesser-of-evils in three different votes on my November ballot. And while I can’t say I’m OK with it, I find voting for the lesser evil better than the non-action that triggers the greater evil. Better still: taking action to get voting reforms so we no longer need to vote lesser-evil.

Posted in Activism, Business Ethics, Democracy, Ethics in Government, Politics, Shel's Personal Life, Social and Economic Justice, Transparency vs. Secrecy Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Let’s Have Some Fun with a Stillborn Nuke: A Contest

The Washington Post reports that the never-finished, never-operated Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant, in Hollywood, Alabama is for sale at the bargain-basement price of $36.4 million. It has cost more than $5 billion to build as much of it as Tennessee Valley Authority managed to complete, so this isn’t just pennies on the dollar. Each penny of the purchase price leverages $137.36 of construction investment—which, if my math is right, works out to a pretty incredible 1,373,626.37 percent return on investment (ROI), if the plant could be amortized that way. Kind of like getting a Ferrari for the price of a Matchbox car (little toys about two inches long).

The unfinished Bellefonte nuke in Alabama is for sale. Let's have some fun figuring out what to do with it.

The unfinished Bellefonte nuke in Alabama is for sale. Let’s have some fun figuring out what to do with it.

Of course, the plant can’t be amortized that way. It was built to turn atoms into smaller atoms and electricity (and, by the way, tremendous waste heat and a whole soup of poisonous and radioactive waste). In all likelihood, the plant will never fulfill its intended purpose. And that’s a good thing!

So let’s think about what we could do with it instead. After all, it’s costing the small town of Westwood, MA more than $13 million just to build a police station, so this really is “the deal of the century.” And let’s have some fun.

I want your outlandish AND your practical ideas. Please submit one of each as a comment on this page, in this format: Outlandish: (describe your idea in one to three sentences). Practical: (describe your idea in one to three sentences). Also please tell me how you learned about the contest so I know whom to thank. If you wish, you may link to a page giving more details. Each entry must include both categories (and the link to your posting address or Facebook screen name must function, so I can contact you if you win).

Oh, and comments are moderated, so don’t even bother posting racist, sexist crap or unrelated commercial spam. It won’t get posted and it WILL get you reported and blacklisted.

All entries must be received by 11:59 PM Eastern Time, Thursday, October 20, a bit over a month from the day I post this.

Want to be a winner? Make your Outlandish entry very humorous but not offensive. And make your  Practical entry eco-friendly and specific. For instance, it’s not enough to say “a renewable energy project.” I want to know the type and why it’ll work there.

The winner in each category will get a 30-minute consultation with me to discuss any aspect of marketing, green/social entrepreneurship business profitability, book publishing, or green living–and a copy of my latest book, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World (acclaimed by Jack Canfield, Seth Godin, and others) as well as my ebook, Painless Green: 111 Tips to Help the Environment, Lower Your Carbon Footprint, Cut Your Budget, and Improve Your Quality of Life—With No Negative Impact on Your Lifestyle. Total value of the prize is $135, which is as close as I can come to the amount of construction cost each penny covers. And you’ll be in a press release I’ll send out announcing the winners.

I am the judge, and I’m not responsible for lost or misdirected entries, I assume no liability, blah blah blah (standard contest disclaimers).

Posted in Branding, Energy & Sustainability, Frugality/Frugal Fun, Green Living/Green Lifestyles, Green Marketing, Innovation, Socially Responsible Investing, Technology, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , ,

Don’t Bait-And-Switch–Intentionally or Not

Last night, I signed a petition created by Rep. Joe Kennedy about gun control. The page gave me the option to share on Facebook, and I did. Then I went to bed.

I was pretty horrified to check my page this morning and see my share that said “Stand With Rep. Joe Kennedy” and had a huge picture of him. Not a word about gun control showed up in the Facebook preview.

So I took it down and posted this note:

To those who might have wondered why there was a huge campaign ad for Rep. Joe Kennedy on my page last night. I had just signed a petition he originated on gun control, and wanted to share it. I didn’t check how it posted on FB. I felt tricked and betrayed enough to take the entire post down. Let him get signatures some other way.

This was a classic bait-and-switch. In fairness, Kennedy probably delegated this to some social media intern and most likely wasn’t personally involved. But if I lived in his district, this would make me look for someone else to vote for, because I don’t like being manipulated and cheated.

Only after I took it down did I think about blogging about this feeling of betrayal. If I’d decided to blog before I instinctively took it down, I would have grabbed a screenshot to post here. Instead, you get the logo of the ultimate-bait-and-switcher: Volkswagen.

Aging Volkswagen showing VW logo. Photo by Daria Schulte.

Aging Volkswagen showing VW logo. Photo by Daria Schulte.

VW, of course, preyed upon environmentalist car owners to sell them a low-emission vehicle—but fudged the test results and was really selling highly polluting cars. This is costing the company billions, and it isn’t over yet. The state of Vermont just filed suit against VW two days ago. Vermont, tiny as it is, has the second-highest per-capita concentration of VWs in the country (after Oregon)—precisely because environmental consciousness is extremely high among its residents. In fact, a year ago, a group of those Vermont residents already filed a class-action suit against Volkswagen.

I used to think my parents and in-laws were overreacting with their continuing pledge never to buy Volkswagen s because of the company’s involvement with the Holocaust. After all, the people who made those brutal decisions are long dead or in nursing homes. But after this scandal, I can’t think of any reason why I would ever trust the company again.

Bottom line: in business and in politics, bait-and-switch has no place in ethical marketing.

Posted in Business Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility, Energy & Sustainability, Environment, Ethics in Government, Greenwashing, Marketing Trends/News, Politics, Psychology, Transparency vs. Secrecy Tagged with: , , , ,

Advice to a Startup–Four Things I Wish I’d Known

Someone asked me today what advice I’d give to someone just starting out. If someone had given me these four bits of advice in 1981 when I was just starting out, I’d have been on the success track a lot faster.

  • Be green and ethical—and willing to proclaim this to the world
  • Delegate early, especially those things you’re not good at–but keep checks and balances in place
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel. An off-the-shelf solution may be better and cheaper than reverse-engineering something
  • Recognize the REAL opportunities that provide first-mover advantage–and walk away from those that aren’t there yet
Posted in Business Ethics, Business-general, Corporate Social Responsibility, Eco-friendly, Entrepreneurship, Environment, Green Business, Green Marketing, People Helping People, Shel's Personal Life Tagged with: , , , ,

We Deserve Great Candidates: Five Reforms to Get Them

Regardless of where they fall on the liberal-conservative spectrum, many of my friends face a choice between a candidate they find deeply flawed and one they find completely unacceptable. They differ on which candidate they will vote for with gritted teeth and a hope for a better future vs. the one they see must be stopped at all costs—but fundamentally, it’s the same question. And I know plenty who find neither candidate acceptable and will either vote third-party or skip that line on the ballot.

The US presidential election has become a shambles. As a country, we deserve better.

And we can get better!  Proof is as close as this coming Tuesday’s primary election in my own Hampshire County, Massachusetts.

One district over from me, much-loved State Representative Ellen Story is giving up the seat she was first elected to in 1992. Six candidates are on the ballot to replace her, and all six bring impressive credentials, endorsements, and a track record of community service. Ellen herself has no major enemies—pretty remarkable in 24 years in state politics, especially in a fractious town where even Town Meeting takes two weeks. In my town, we do Town Meeting in one night, twice a year.

I’ve listed a few simple reforms in bold, below. Adopting them throughout the US would go a long way toward reclaiming our democracy.

Reform #1: IRV
The state rep election is a perfect case study of why we need ranked voting (a/k/a Instant Runoff voting). You name your first choice, and if your candidate is eliminated, your vote goes to your second choice. If that candidate is eliminated, the vote goes to your third choice, and so on down the line until there’s a clear victor. We need this locally, and we need it nationally. Several other countries use it, as do a few cities in the US. For the first time in a US national election, people would be able to vote their consciences without feeling they were throwing their support to the worst candidate if they picked someone unlikely to win.

I don’t vote in that election, but I’ll be happy with whoever wins. And I do get to vote in two county-wide races. I consider two of the three candidates for Sheriff highly qualified, as are both of the candidates for Governor’s Council (an obscure Massachusetts office that helps select judges). I’m voting for Melissa Perry and Jeff Morneau, but I don’t think I’ll be badly served as a voter if my first choices don’t win.

The Key Difference Between Local and National Elections

Reform #2: Undo Citizens United and Change the Way We Finance Campaigns
Why did these races draw so many strong candidates while at the national level, we have to scratch our heads and hold our noses?

I believe we can sum up the answer in just two words: CAMPAIGN FINANCE. These local campaigns are cheap to run and use little paid advertising. So the candidates are not beholden to any special interest.

On the national level, campaigns cost billions and special interests hold major sway over the candidates they fund. It’s not a coincidence that the only candidate who was able to galvanize progressives was also the only candidate to fund his candidacy through direct populist appeal to small individual donors. Nobody thought a year ago that Bernie Sanders would be any kind of serious candidate. Yet he won numerous primaries and—for the first time in decades—proved that you can run a national campaign without becoming a puppet of your funders. As the devastating effects of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision allowing essentially unlimited corporate money to flow to campaigns become palpable, this is key for the future direction of American politics.

It’s also not a coincidence that Trump originally garnered support by claiming he was too rich to be influenced by those special interests and he would self-fund his campaign. That turned out to be just another Trump lie, but it was the public line through most of the primary season. However, in this ABC News link, it’s obvious that this was a sham even as far back as January.

A voter marks a ballot. Photo by Kristen Price.

A voter marks a ballot. Photo by Kristen Price.

Reform #3: Hand-Countable Paper Ballots
We will never know who really won the US presidential elections of 2000 and 2004. In both cases, the decision hung on a single state, and in both states, the outcome was highly suspect. These are only the most dramatic among many elections that were very close. In far too many, the use of electronic voting machines without paper ballots means there’s no way to tell if the votes were counted accurately. This is simply unacceptable. Electronic voting machines and regional tabulation machines are far too easy for a hacker to flip—or to simply go out of alignment and count votes for people the voter didn’t vote for. The law should mandate that an electronic total is preliminary, and that election officials will hand-count within the week if the margin of victory is narrow or if there are any reports of irregularities. And those ballots should be properly archived so they can be checked later if accusations surface on the basis of new information.

Reform #4: Parliamentary Allocation
Most of the world uses a parliamentary system in the legislature. If a party gets enough votes to pass a threshold (many countries use 5%), it gets a share of the seats in the legislature. This is another way to make sure minority viewpoints are represented.

Reform #5: Eliminate Winner-Take-All Electoral College
Nebraska and Maine have been apportioning electoral votes by who wins each Congressional District. Why are the other 48 states still using the weird 18th-century throwback of giving all electoral votes to the person with the most? This disenfranchises any of us who live in a “safe” state. Our vote doesn’t really count unless we live in a swing state. Isn’t that crazy?

Left and Right can agree on these and a few other reforms. Let’s join forces and get this done.

Posted in Democracy, Politics, Transparency vs. Secrecy Tagged with: , , , , ,

Who Will Be Better for Business–Clinton or Trump?

Someone posed this question on a discussion group, with a particular emphasis on which candidate would be better for innovation. This was my response:

One of the few promises Trump is likely to keep is to withdraw federal government support for innovation in the energy sector–the place that’s likely to be among the most job-creating new industries in the next two decades. Trump will deliberately choke off innovation in this very innovative sector. That will be bad for business.

Offshore oil platform. Photo by Freddie Hinajosa

Offshore oil platform. Photo by Freddie Hinajosa

Trump will be seen as untrustable by all other countries. That will be bad for business.
Trump has a record of skipping out on what he owes small businesses, then bragging about how he cheated them. That will be bad for business. I’ve been speaking and writing about business ethics as a key to success since 2002, and he is completely devoid of ethics.
Trump has made it abundantly clear that his policies will favor billionaires over others. That will help a few at the top, but overall, be bad for business.
Trumps bullying/name calling, thin skin, bad temper, open racism, mocking of those he perceives as enemies, etc. are the opposite of good management. Having that as a role model in the top management job in the country will not only be bad for business but could easily start wars.
I’m not real happy with Hillary Clinton as a candidate, but I’m in general agreement with the direction she would take the country–other than my worry that she will lead us into unnecessary wars. She at least is smart, stable, and caring. Her ethics are shaky and her tendency toward nontransparency worries me. But at least she HAS a moral compass even if it doesn’t point true north–and (I believe) a genuine desire to make the world better.
In other years, I might vote third-party. I’ve done it before. But this year, I want Trump’s margin of defeat to be so enormous that he never shows his face in politics again. A Trump presidency would be a disaster, not just for business, but for everyone who loves democracy, innovation, morality, or merit-based success. Trump represents the worst of American society: a racist, sexist, authoritarian bully. A liar and a cheat. A man who is only about himself and has no higher calling. A man who thinks his material wealth gives him the right to stomp on others. A man who panders to fear and has no vision. A man who doesn’t “play well with others.”
A man who must not be elected President.
Posted in Business Ethics, Democracy, Energy & Sustainability, Ethics in Government, Innovation, Peace and War, Politics Tagged with: , , , ,

When Donald Trump Loses, It WON’T be Because the Election was Rigged

Dear Donald Trump,

Now that it’s abundantly clear that you ain’t gonna win, you’re already making claims that the election will be rigged.

Mind you, I share your distrust of electronic voting machines without paper backup. Yes, they can be manipulated. They likely were in 2000 and 2004.

Caricature of Donald Trump by DonkeyHotey, Creative Commons License: https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/5471912349/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Caricature of Donald Trump by DonkeyHotey, Creative Commons License: https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/5471912349/sizes/m/in/photostream/

But you will lose because you underestimate the decency of the American people. Your views AND your tactics are so repugnant that you even got ME to vote for Hillary Clinton—not because I’m so in love with her (actually, I have lots of issues with her), but because I want your margin of defeat to be so “yuge” that it dwarfs the margins of even Goldwater in 1964 and McGovern in 1972. I’ve voted third-party before, and there’s a third-party candidate this year that I could feel somewhat comfortable voting for.

You will lose because of your racism…your misogyny…your constant bullying and name calling…your attempts to shame people for being disabled, losing a son who defended our country, surviving years of torture and horrible conditions as a POW who stood true to his beliefs…your untrustable temper…your veiled threats of violence…your refusal to disclose your finances, which the New York Times called “a maze of debts and opaque ties…your 40-year history of cheating small business owners, lying, and showing your contempt for others.

You will lose, by a landslide, because you do not speak for the American people. The American people are better than you—and we deserve better leadership than you offer.

Posted in Democracy, Demographics/Psychographics, Diversity, language, Politics, propaganda, Psychology, Shel's Personal Life, Social and Economic Justice, Transparency vs. Secrecy Tagged with: , , , ,

I Do Support an Org for Bernie Supporters–I Just Want to Know What I’m Joining

Got some flak for my recent blog post entitled “Why I’m Not Joining Bernie’s New Org.” My wife, in particular, worried publicly that people would get the idea that I think Bernie’s movement is flawed.

In reality, I’m objecting to being forced to sign a membership in order to find out (maybe) what the organization stands for. I object to this from marketers and I object to it from politicians. It’s bad marketing.

I support about 95% of Bernie’s agenda and would likely be very happy to join his new org if only I could see its principles before I join. But joining blind is not the way I want to roll.

Posted in Uncategorized

Why I’m Not Joining Bernie’s New Org

NOTE:  I clarified my response–and especially the headline–in this later post.

I got an email this morning from Labor for Bernie, urging me to sign up to continue the movement. My wife saw a note from Bernie himself, on Facebook. Both urged us to join the ongoing movement by signing up at OurRevolution.com.

So I clicked over. And this is what I saw:

Landing page of OurRevolution.com

Landing page of OurRevolution.com

It’s designed like a classic marketer’s landing page with only two options: sign up or send money. Except that a classic marketer’s landing page describes the project it’s selling—sometimes, in great detail. This time—not a clue about what this organization is going to stand for.

I’m a strong Bernie supporter. I love that he was able to bring a progressive agenda into mainstream US politics—after watching so many fail before, from Jesse Jackson to Howard Dean to Dennis Kucinich. But I’m not signing.

Too many times, I’ve seen organizations co-opt supporters by turning out to stand for something other than they pretended, going back to the Socialist Workers Party’s attempt to co-opt the Vietnam peace movement when I was a teenager. Here, I don’t even see a pretense. I see nothing about what this organization will stand for, what tactics it will use, etc.

Even for Sanders, I don’t write a blank check. Not financially, and not in my commitment to an organization whose tenets I can’t describe. Even for Bernie, I won’t sign blind.

Posted in Activism, Branding, Democracy, Ethics in Government, language, Marketing Techniques and Philosophies, Marketing Trends/News, Politics, propaganda, Transparency vs. Secrecy Tagged with: , , , , ,

What the 2016 Democratic and Republican Parties Stand For: A Post-Convention Look

The two big messages of the Democratic Convention were Hope and Inclusion. Hope, of course, was one of the two themes (along with Change) that propelled Barack Obama to the presidency in 2008.

The danger with memes like Hope and Change is that they leave people greatly disappointed when not much appears to change. Obama actually has a pretty powerful record of accomplishment (and here’s a shorter but more up-to-date list prepared by the Democratic Party). But he’s somewhat diffident about claiming it—and his legacy is much less than it could have been because of the concerted effort of the GOP to deny him any victory no matter how small. Here, for instance, is Mitch McConnell, early in Obama’s presidency, saying the President is not sufficiently bipartisan, despite Obama’s unprecedented and massive outreach to the other side at the expense of that agenda of hope and change—something even Fox News noticed. (Of course, by 2010, McConnell was openly saying his top priority was making sure Obama was a one-term president.)

I have plenty of issues with both Obama and with Hillary Clinton—but government is supposed to be bipartisan, not spoil-spot-losers-blocking everything. The Democrats even allowed George W. Bush to govern, despite his awful, destructive policies form which the country is still recovering. That Obama has been able to get anything done in this climate (and as those two links above prove, he’s done quite a bit) is remarkable. That the Republican Party has thwarted the will of the people over and over again these 8 years is shameful.

Obama also has a tendency to “roll over and play dead” unnecessarily. To name one example, that he gave up so easily on filling the Supreme Court vacancy caused by Scalia’s death is shocking—and very bad precedent. as a former community organizer, Obama should have had a clue about how to break he deadlock—keep the apparatus that twice elected him president active, to deluge Republican legislators with calls and letters supporting particular pieces of Obama’s agenda—to keep people involved and motivated while at the same time disassembling Republican intransigence, making its revelry in being “The Party of No” politically difficult. Obama could have organized a backlash in the 2010 election and accumulated massive majorities in both houses. But he let his eager champions wither on the vine.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders

Inclusion may not be as powerful as hope, but it’s a very strong meme nonetheless. This year’s Republican candidate openly embraces hostility to inclusion—attacking Mexicans and Muslims along with immigrants in general, mocking disabled people, and even attacking the patriotism of decorated war hero Senator John McCain. So it’s a good move for Hillary Clinton to reclaim the emotional territory she gave up to both Sanders and Trump during primary season—and in this case, I do think it’s genuine. The first night of the convention, especially, was all about outreach to those who’ve felt disenfranchised (including the millions of supporters of Bernie Sanders). Clinton’s good dose of Policy Wonk may also be the antidote to Trump’s sketchy sound-bite promises about how he would govern.

The themes of inclusion, hope, and competence were in tremendous contrast with the Republican Convention, whose dominant message was fear—expressed in xenophobia. The other message of the Republicans was “we don’t have to give a crap about people we can beat up”–a big rallying point for those who agree, but a big push-away for anyone who might be a potential victim–and that’s a LOT of people. This is essentially the message of fascism, and it scares me to see it coming out of the mouth (and Twitter feed) of a nominated major-party candidate for President.

And this is why I will vote for Hillary even though my own politics are closer to Jill Stein’s, and even though I live in a state that will vote Democratic no matter what. I am not thrilled about voting for Hillary, but I will vote for her. I consider Trump the greatest threat to democracy and liberty in my lifetime. His repeated use of Hitlerian memes is very troubling. And I think very deliberate. I want Trump’s margin of defeat to be so “YUGE” that we never see his ugly politics again.

Looking at the election as a whole, I’d bet that Trump, a master marketer for decades, has studied NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming—an extremely powerful approach to getting inside people’s minds through the use of deep psychological triggers) and is far better at getting his (loathsome) message across than Clinton is. The Republicans have been using sound bites that appear to be based in NLP techniques for over 30 years, but Trump has taken it much deeper. Clinton, by contrast, is an old-school politician who hasn’t quite figured out the 21st-century shift in marketing from push to interactive. And Sanders has probably not studied marketing but he’s a natural. His brand is wrapped in an integrity that neither party nominee can offer—and he has a long background in (and deep understanding of) community organizing as well as electoral politics. When he started as a politician, Vermont was not exactly a progressive hotspot. I believe he helped create the climate where his state is now among the bluest in the nation.

Interestingly, all three are around the same age, spanning from Clinton’s 68 to Sanders’ 74 (Trump just turned 70)—yet the oldest, Sanders, had the strongest appeal to youth. And the younger candidates, from O’Malley to Rubio, were all eliminated months ago.

Posted in Activism, Branding, Democracy, Demographics/Psychographics, Diversity, Ethics: General, language, Marketing Techniques and Philosophies, People Helping People, Politics, propaganda, Psychology, Shel's Personal Life, Social and Economic Justice Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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