Mindscape Communications New Answers for New Times™

It's 2016. Now what? Let's think about it.

Now that we've survived the holiday rush of advertising and related purchasing frenzy and put up a new calendar telling us that it's 2016, we can look to what lies ahead.

The biggest thing on the horizon, at least for those of us in the U.S., is the Presidential election in November. Of course, we've already been watching debates and hearing candidates tout why they are right for America and why their opponents are so obviously wrong. Toss in the punditry from both the right and the left — is there any middle any longer, by the way? — and the three-ring circus is fully underway.

Residents of caucus and early primary states are already getting their fill. The rest of us who watch the news unfortunately have to listen to reports of those poor souls in the other states. Some love it and live for it. Others…not so much.

It's the American way. Some say it's a broken process, exacerbated by a Supreme Court decision known as
Citizens United. Others say it's just free speech and anyone should be able to spend whatever they want to help get someone elected. Whatever one's view on this hot button issue, one thing is certain: the flood of money into political coffers will make this the most expensive Presidential campaign ever. Oh, and all of us will at some point be inundated by political ads, especially after the two parties' national conventions nominate their official candidates this summer. If there was integrity to the messages, statesmanship, a lifting up of the nation instead of the putting down of the opponent and those with differing views…boy, wouldn't that be different?

Unfortunately, as long as people respond to the tactics of fear and division in campaign messages political consultants and the candidates they are working for will continue to employ those tactics. Every marketer and communications professional will tell you that these ploys work at an emotional level rather than a cognitive level. When push comes to shove, emotion generally wins.

It doesn't always result in the best outcomes, however, as history has shown time and time again. But that's a
rational statement., which is easy to set aside as long as the candidates and their messages are able to keep fear and division first and foremost in the public's mind.

Making an individual, a group, a gender, a race, a nation…whatever…making anything else
"The Other" has been a winning formula for bigots, despots and politicians of the blowhard variety for ages. Until we are able to lift ourselves individually and collectively above that level of discourse, we'll just get more of the same. Brings to mind that old adage about the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting to get different results.

It's sad, really, if you think about it. Which is the exact opposite of what most candidates and their communications campaigns want us to do.

So, as we kick off this election year of 2016, perhaps IBM's famous slogan, "
Think," should be a mantra for voters. Not thinking can have serious consequences for the nation and the world.

We've seen that storyline play out far too often…that is, if you think about it.