Archive for the ‘2012 Campaign – Marketing Lessons’ Category

How much stress can Americans endure before cracking?

May 23, 2022

Or, aggregating the question: How much stress can America endure?

Recently, I’ve noticed a couple of trends.

Practically everybody I know has gotten sick in the past couple of months … some Covid, but mostly prolonged colds and intestinal “issues”.

And, everybody seems stressed out.

Think those 2 “indications” are related?


Stress factors

Inflation is gnawing at everybody and forcing hard choices.

Every trip to the grocery store is what a friend euphemistically calls “an unfulfilling experience” … with noticeably higher prices (every week), smaller packages and empty shelves.

The gas price spike may be the straw that will break the economic camel’s back … with neon signs every couple of miles reminding people that prices are are out of control


Housing costs

Next up will be housing costs.

Last week, I chatted up the Amazon Prime driver who was handing me a package.

He said he loves his job, loves living in the area …  but just had his rent bumped up to $3,800 a month.

That’s almost $50 grand a year, sports fans.

My bet: He’s not making much more than that driving the truck … if he’s even making that.

The driver frowned when I opined that the sky-rocketing real estate prices of the past few years still haven’t fully made their way thru the system … and higher interest rates will eventually be passed through to rental rates.


Retirement nest eggs

For awhile, our retirement nest egg sheltered us a bit .. making all of the above inflation effects annoying, but not sleep shattering.

But, a 20% drop in the stock market has quickly deflated financial cushions and pushed a lot of retirees into the inflationary pool (cesspool?) with everybody else.


Social pressures

Then there are the “social issues”.

Many people have residual Covid fears — still being stoked by Fauci & Friends — and have anxieties when going to sporting events, restaurants or even weddings & funerals.

Understandably, nobody seems eager to head into crime ridden urban centers for a night of entertainment.

The lockdowns took a toll.

Many (most? all?) companies are having a hard time coaxing employees back to the office (and getting productivity back on track).

Parents are legitimately concerned about their kids’ education.

As one soccer mom put it recently: “My daughter is dumber now than she was 2 years ago.”

Charge that to virtual schooling … and changed curricular emphases in the schools … less reading, writing and arithmetic … more “social awareness”.

A case on point…

From a trusted source: Girls at one local middle school try to avoid using the school’s (“girls”) restroom ever since a gender-fluid, biological male started using their facilities.

If they can’t “hold it”, they make restroom stops a group activity.

And on … and on … and on.

My point: Escalating stress levels are evident … and spreading like wildfire across geographies, demographics, and age groups.

Where’s the breaking point — individually and collectively?

What will “the great break” look like?

Geez, it’s hard to be optimistic…

WaPo: “A glaring scientific breakdown at the CDC”

April 19, 2020

“The impact was devastating to the country.”

Today, the Washington Post published a scathing report that details how the scientists at the CDC screwed up the launch and deployment of C-19 testing … leaving the medical community and policy-makers flying blind in the early stages of of the US coronavirus spread … and, information-short as the nation tries to transition back to re-opened normalcy.


WaPo’s general conclusion:

The CDC’s performance with the test kits marks an unparalleled low in the 74-year history of America’s heretofore premier institution for combating the spread of catastrophic disease.

More specifically, WaPo reports a disastrous mix of scientists’ hubris,  protocol violations, slow reactions, and missed commitments.

Here are some details ….


At least I wasn’t the only person blindsided … Romney was, too.

November 9, 2012

A reliable source tells me that the CBS report  Romney “shellshocked” by loss is pretty much on the money …

The essence of the article:

  • The campaign was highly confident of victory … in part, because of the huge rally crowds in final days
  • Their internal polling showed them leading in key states … largely driven by turnout assumptions
  • They believed intellectually that Obama would not get the kind of turnout he had in 2008.
  • They thought intensity and enthusiasm were on their side this time – poll after poll showed Republicans were more motivated to vote than Democrats
  • Romney didn’t have a prepared concession speech … he was confident
  • At the time, prelim exit polls didn’t signal a problem … looking back, there were some signs, e.g. Northern VA turnouts
  • Shock hit when actual returns started coming in … North Carolina was the canary in the coal mine.

= = = = =
“Team Romney made three key miscalculations, in part because this race bucked historical trends”:

1. Turnout. They expected it to be between 2004 and 2008 levels, with a plus-2 or plus-3 Democratic electorate, instead of plus-7 as it was in 2008. Their assumptions were wrong on both sides:

  • The president’s base turned out and Romney’s did not.
  • More African-Americans voted in Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida than in 2008.
  • And fewer Republicans did: Romney got just over 2 million fewer votes than John McCain.

2. Independents. State polls showed Romney winning big among independents.

  • Historically, any candidate polling that well among independents wins.
  • But as it turned out, many of those independents were former Republicans who now self-identify as independents.
  • The state polls weren’t oversampling Democrats and undersampling Republicans – there just weren’t as many Republicans this time because they were calling themselves independents.

3. Undecided voters.  Romney was counting on that trend to continue. Instead, exit polls show Mr. Obama won among people who made up their minds on Election Day and in the few days before the election.

  • The perception is they always break for the challenger, since people know the incumbent and would have decided already if they were backing him.
  • But. maybe Romney, after running for six years, was in the same position as the incumbent.

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