Richard Mgrdechian- Congratulations to the GOP for losing the easiest election of our lifetimes. Over the past four years, Obama has been exposed as a liar, a fraud, a charlatan and a scam. We’ve seen his policies of racism, divisiveness and class warfare tear at the fabric of our society on a daily basis. We’ve seen the national debt go up by $5 trillion during his watch. We’ve seen the value of the dollar go down dramatically over that same time. We’ve seen ambassadors killed overseas while he sits around and laughs it up with daytime talk show hosts. On top of it all, we’ve seen an endless amount of buyer’s remorse from people who voted for him the first time around and swore they would never do it again. Yet, even with all of this – and an economy in complete shambles – we still lost. The obvious question would have to be how is that possible? Well forget voter fraud, the Electoral College, how much we spent or anything else; at the end of the day the answer is clear and simple – we lost because, no matter how many times they talk about it, Republicans once again missed the boat on popular culture.
Keep reading, because I can tell you right now that this won’t be just another abstract article about what “needs” to be done by someone who has no clue, concept or desire to actually do anything about it, but needs to fill space in a weekly column or has to come up with something to talk about on the radio for a segment or two. No, this is an article about what is being done, what the hurdles have been – mostly from within our own party, by the way – and specific ideas on what we can do to make sure we’re ready next time around.
First of all, we need to understand that popular culture trumps politics every time. Why? Simple: logic and rational arguments are not cool, they’re not fun, they’re not easy and they’re not inspirational. Pop culture on the other hand, is – by definition – 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.
Right now, as pathetic as it may be, our front line in the culture war is the Tea Party movement. Unfortunately, these organizations and their events are about as far from “parties” as humanly possible. In fact, the whole thing is more like a tea funeral, actually. Sure, they were effective for a year or so as a way of galvanizing support and aggregating people who felt frustrated and alone, but in reality these groups – especially given they way they are currently run – are completely unsustainable. After all, there are only so many times you can stand there and watch the same twenty people screaming at a podium about the same twenty things for four or five hours at a time.
Yes, they truly are funerals in every sense of the word – boring, dreary, draining, unappealing, exhausting and most of all – they are killing the conservative movement.
The same thing seems to be true of the RNC itself, as well as the vast array of non-profits organizations that are supposed to be helping us educate voters, grow our base and win elections. From what I’ve seen, they’ve failed miserably at all three. Not only have they failed, they’ve absolutely refused to do anything innovative, to change their thinking in any manner whatsoever or to make any attempt at all to leverage the power of popular culture. Now maybe I’m biased, because you see, the focus of my life is on using popular culture to get pro-American messages out to people. To fill a void in the entertainment industry. To show the world that American culture is alive and well, and that it’s okay to love your country, respect our troops and show some gratitude for all the things we so often take for granted as Americans.
The way I do this is through music. You might have heard of the band I manage – it’s called Madison Rising. We’re somewhat of an anomaly in the music industry, being a pro-American rock band and all. Turns out we’re not really very welcome in that environment. Fortunately though, that hasn’t stopped us from becoming a #1 best selling artist, spending 15 weeks on the top 100 list on the Amazon music charts this past summer and having over 3 million people already watch our rock rendition of the Star Spangled Banner on YouTube.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that we’ve done all of this with virtually no marketing budget, and with no help, cooperation, exposure, reinforcement or other assistance whatsoever from the any of the conservative organizations that are supposedly so concerned with taking America back, with winning elections and with getting people – especially younger people – aboard with the conservative message. Imagine that – we’re sitting here with the perfect conduit and the perfect vehicle for everything they claim they want to do, yet they’ve completely ignored us.
And believe me, we have reached out to all of the groups that conservatives around the country donate millions of dollars to, and all of them have rejected working with us. Sadder still, not only have they not embraced us; they haven’t even acknowledged our existence by letting their members know about us in even the most insignificant way. With all the people out there who are desperately yearning for something positive and energizing, you would think these groups might take 15 seconds to send out a tweet regarding a tiny little glimmer of hope out there for the younger generation. But for some reason, that didn’t happen. Wouldn’t you have at least liked to have known there was an awesome, #1 selling rock band out there that was pro-American, pro-soldier, pro-second amendment, pro-Reagan and pro-constitution touring all over the country, energizing crowds wherever they go and trying to make a difference in the election we just had? Well now you do.
Fortunately, despite a complete blackout from our most logical and natural allies, Madison Rising is quickly becoming the favorite rock band of tens of thousands of people around the country. We’ve played a ton of events all over the country for our troops and for veterans, and have dozens more in process. We’ll be performing in front of 45,000 people at the annual military bowl at RFK stadium in December. We get emails all the time from veterans, soldiers and military wives from around the world thanking us for our music and telling us how they’ve been praying for someone like Madison Rising to come along. We get messages from soldiers in Afghanistan telling us they play our music before every mission to get themselves pumped up. We get messages from Vietnam veterans who tell us they haven’t cried in 30 years – until they saw one of our videos. We get messages from 75-year-old ladies on Facebook that tell us they’ve never downloaded a song until they heard our Star Spangled Banner, and then downloaded our entire album. We get messages from parents telling us that our music is the only music they like that their teenagers actually also want to hear. We’ve gotten thousands of messages from people begging us to perform at the Super Bowl, yet no conservative politician or candidate of any stature had us at a single event no matter how many times we offered to perform for them for free.
It’s amazing how we get messages all the time from everyone except the organizations that would benefit from partnering with us the most. But here’s why: Liberals have a common enemy – us. We on the other hand, attack and undermine and sabotage each other and have ended up nowhere as a result. The system is overwhelmingly dysfunctional and overtly cannibalistic. It is destined for failure. In the 60’s, rock music was viewed as a threat to the power structure. Based on the reception we’ve gotten, it would seem that history is repeating itself all over again. I should point out, however, that Madison Rising is not a spokesman for any political party. Rather we are a patriotic, pro-American rock band who believes in hard work, integrity and gratitude for all we have as Americans. Correct me if I’m wrong, but as far as I know, that’s what conservatives are supposed to stand for.
Unfortunately, they don’t know how to convey it. The vast majority of political meeting I go to are nothing but one big (and 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 happens 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 first-class to stay at 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 spread 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 any election is appealing to younger people. The powers that be need to recognize that the swing vote in every election 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.
We all know Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing and expecting different results. Well, guess what – the leaders of the GOP keep doing the same thing, and they keep expecting a different result. You know what that means: maybe liberals are actually right for once – maybe conservatives really are insane.
The only solution is for our party to learn that you don’t launch a campaign six months before the election and expect to win – you launch it a generation beforehand and pound the message home every minute of every day, just like the liberals do. That’s the power of pop culture – change the mindset before the campaign even starts. Use that leverage, and you’ve won before the other team even knows what hit them.
* Richard Mgrdechian is the founder, President & CEO of Purple Eagle Entertainment and manager of the popular pro-American rock band Madison Rising. He expects Madison Rising to be the crest of a massive wave that sweeps through American culture over the next few years to create what liberals fear most – a truly level playing field. He holds a degree in electrical engineering from the prestigious California Institute of Technology, along with an MBA from Columbia University.