2015 Trends: The Death of Brand Loyalty in Politics


At least since 2006, when the Republicans lost control of Congress, the end of the GOP has been a staple of the political predictions market. The party of old white men and their blue-haired spouses had nowhere to go but six feet under. There's more than a little truth to this, as forward-looking Republicans such as Rand Paul fully acknowledge. Last fall, the Kentucky senator said the party's brand "sucks" and likened it to Domino's pizza, which can never be confused with a compliment. I've poured a whisky or two on the GOP's grave, too, arguing that unless the party embraces its inner libertarian, it will go the way of its fathers' Oldsmobiles.

All true, except for one very important thing: The Democratic Party also sucks. If Republicans are Domino's, then the Dems are Pizza Hut or Papa John's or CiCi's. As Matt Welch and I hammered home in The Declaration of Independents, brand loyalty is deader than Jacob Marley in all aspects of American life. Politics is no exception, with millennials pointedly less partisan than their parents, and their parents markedly less partisan than their parents.

In a column for Time, I discuss why the trend toward less party loyalty will continue in 2015 and beyond. I also lay out four other trends to watch in the coming year(s). Here's part of the section on politicial affiliation:

It seems like only yesterday that everyone agreed the GOP was finished because it had no way of appealing to younger voters and minorities, who would always and everywhere vote Democratic. "For Republicans, Just Doing the Math is Frightening," read one typical story's headline.

All it took to dispel that truism was a few years with Democrats calling the shots and reneging on implicit and explicit promises to safeguard civil liberties, not invade random countries, or screw up the economy more than the GOP under George W. Bush. Now the question is "Are Democrats Losing the Youth Vote?" The short answer is that while younger voters aren't exactly giving bear hugs to Republicans, they have cooled considerably on Democrats over the past several elections. Latinos voted two-to-one f#mce_temp_url#or Democrats but also "shifted Republican in key races."

Although the Republicans won the midterms in a landslide—taking the Senate, increasing its lead in the House of Representatives, andcontrolling more seats at the state level than ever—there's every reason to believe that all it will take to see another shift is a couple of years of Mitch McConnell and John Boehner in power.

Which is the point: Brand loyalty is dead in most consumer products—does anyone still come from a Chevrolet or Ford or even Mercedes family?—and it's shot in politics too. Trust in government and politics, which is at historically low levels, has led to rapid swings in control of Congress and shrinking affiliation with either the Democrats or Republicans.

Read "5 Earth-Shattering Trends to Follow in 2015—and Beyond!"


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  1. Coke or Pepsi; those are your only choices.

    1. And if you dare to pick RC Cola or something, you’re throwing your coke away!

    2. And Sodastream is a plot by the JOOOS!!1!.

      *twitchily unrolling an arms length of Reynolds wrap, oh yeah that’s the stuff*

      1. Or you can go totally black market with a keg and CO2 tank and bunch of cane sugar.

        1. Or you can go totally black market with a keg and CO2 tank and bunch of cane sugar.

          The script writes itself: Boardwalk Empire 2: Get Busy with the Fizzy.

        2. I’ve looked into it. The Wife Acceptance Factor is very low.

          Bitch didn’t want a giant CO2 tank in the kitchen.

          1. I don’t accept your wife either. :-p

    3. Is everyone forced to drink whatever the most popular soda was last November?

      1. Yes, because if you didn’t, you’re throwing your thirst away! A drink of Snapple is a drink of Pepsi!

  2. “The party of old white men and their blue-haired spouses had nowhere to go but six feet under. There’s more than a little truth to this…”

    I think John only comments here when he’s supposed to be working, but I’m sure plenty of other cultural identity Republicans will show up soon to castigate you for this post, Mr. Gillespie.

    And saying the Democratic Party sucks, too, isn’t enough. You said something negative about the Republicans, and that’s unforgivable. …to those who imagine that being libertarian means supporting the Republicans–for some reason.

    1. On the Suckometer, today’s Democrats suck 93% of the time. Today’s Republicans suck only 86.4% of the time.

      Twenty years ago, it was about 49% for the Republicans and 51% for the Democrats. Not only do both sides suck, but they suck more with each passing day. And if you’re a libertarian, that’s actually a good thing, if you truly want change. The Teams are their own worst enemies and will drive people into libertarian arms.

      1. The big difference between the parties is that the Democrats suck and are proud of it, while the Republicans suck but often say nice stuff about free markets, limited government, natural rights, and so forth.

        They both suck, however, on every issue that is of significant interest to the ruling elite.

      2. I trust these numbers of yours more than I trust the ‘settled’ climate figures.

        1. I trust “one in five” sexual assault lunacy more than I trust anything coming from the climate Stalinists.

          And there are few made up stats I find more pernicious than “one in five.”

      3. “The Teams are their own worst enemies and will drive people into libertarian arms.”

        Next year we take over the mainland! – Chiang Kai-Shek

    2. If you go by measured IQ, political extemists on both sides are smarter, and and independents and moderates are dumber. The reason for that is strategic. Politics is a game of tug-of-war, and if you’re not pulling as hard as you can for side you prefer, you’re working in the other side’s interest. Being an independent means you’re too stupid to decide which side is preferable at any given moment, and being a moderate only makes sense if you support the status quo.

      1. Or being an independent means that you alternate support for each side, based on a few issues that you really care about.

        Hard core partisans care about their party over all, and will shift positions for momentary advantage.

        1. But you don’t vote on issues. That means you’re going to have to compromise certain issues if you want to have any influence at all.

    3. I think Bo only posts here when he’s supposed to be studying, but it’s good to see someone equally retarded taking up the slack.

    4. It’s like you–and Nick– don’t understand that Nick’s an ‘old white man’ and no amount of trying to ingest millenial genitalia is gonna change that.

      Everyone spends most of their life out of that ‘youth’ phase that Nick pursues so relentlessly.

      You get about ten years as a kid, about fifteen years in Nick’s vaunted ‘youth’ demographic, and then about 50-70 years(and rising) as a person who gets called ‘old’ and dismissed.

      Maybe the diaper chasing isn’t really worth it?

  3. my classmate’s ex-wife makes $81 /hour on the computer . She has been unemployed for eight months but last month her pay check was $18269 just working on the computer for a few hours. check…………..
    ????? http://www.netjob70.com

  4. Here’s a trend for you: Law enforcement executives must evaluate their agencies’ financial situation to determine the necessity of developing new revenue streams.

    Policing for profit laid out in a flat, matter-of-fact manner by Police Chief magazine with no hint that turning a profit might not be a police department’s raison d’etre.

    1. The bullet points:

      Law enforcement executives must evaluate their agencies’ financial situation to determine the necessity of developing new revenue streams.

      Once the executive staff of an agency has determined that new revenue streams are necessary, they must commit and communicate…Because this project is outside of the mainstream duties of law enforcement, the chief must communicate the vision and the necessity of success in this endeavor.

      Agencies should involve many people in the process of generating ideas for new revenue streams.

      Agencies should establish a broad-based committee to evaluate new revenue stream ideas. This committee should be charged with evaluating each idea’s profit potential…

      Once one or more revenue-generating ideas are chosen, the agency must spend the time and resources necessary to develop strategic implementation plans.

      A critical part of implementation is the development of project support. Determine the stakeholders and actively build their commitment level. Lack of political support can sabotage even the most viable project.

      1. The bland bureaucratese is numbing. But it portends new directions in law enforcement attitudes. This is interesting stuff; thanks.

        1. The bland bureaucratese is numbing.

          Wow, it really does shout “this was written by a committee,” doesn’t it?

      2. Here’s some suggestions I suspect one or more agencies will have looked into:

        911? Now 1-900-911 – $12.95 per minute with a 5 minute minimum.

        Arrestees charged a transportation fee of $395. If you prefer, the cops can necessitate a $1895 ambulance fee for you. The ‘necessitating an ambulance fee’ fee is $395.

        Walking around in public wearing plaids and stripes, socks with sandals, a bad haircut, etc. is now a “social order” infraction with a $100 fine. There will be tons of these.

        Anybody listening to any music by The Police must pay licensing fees to the police. So must anyone using the letters ‘P’ and ‘D’ or ‘L’, ‘E’, and ‘O’.

        “Get out of jail free” cards available for purchase, $50 per day of maximum sentence.

        I wonder if I can make as much money as a revenue-stream enhancement consultant as I can by working just a few hours a week from my computer like Anonbot’s sister does.

      3. Law enforcement executives must evaluate their agencies’ financial situation to determine the necessity of developing new revenue streams.

        In a democracy, it is the elected representatives that evaluate agencies financial situations and develop revenue streams to support them.

        Devolving this role to the agencies themselves, especially law enforcement and the military is a recipe for creating a banana republic dictatorship.


    1. Good impression of our most brand-loyal regular.

  6. OT: Michelle Matton, Uber Ottawa User, Slams $184 NYE Bill

    She normally paid around $20 to use it, and she was aware that the company would hike its prices during high-demand periods like New Year’s Eve. So she was ready to pay a little more.

    Then she received a bill for $184.43. And now she’s calling it “highway robbery.”

    Dumb people doing dumb things and then blaming someone else for being dumb. Statist newspaper picks up the story as an example of why Uber needs to be regulated but, IMO, just trumpets that this woman is dumb.

    1. It sounds like she wasn’t given an actual price until the end of the ride. I wouldn’t take that bet either. When I take a car I always get the exact price before I get in.

    2. Unfortunately, dumbness is a precursor to almost all regulation.

    3. Some months back I mentioned a story I heard on the CBC’s morning news (I listen to various international broadcasters) about a man who took his family abroad for vacation and didn’t read his cell phon contract’s terms on roaming data charges. The guy let his kid use the smartphone to watch video, and incurred a rather large charge per the contract. The CBC presented this as grossly unfair because the service provider has a lot of money, and didn’t ask the father why he didn’t read his contract and say no to his brat.

  7. I suppose if you are an inside-the-Beltway junkie, this stuff is consequential. If you are not, then it isn’t and we see that with fewer people bothering to vote and more of those self-identifying as independents. The party system serves the insiders, the cronies, and the loyalists and the one huge benefit of the new media age is that this is no longer a dirty little secret.

  8. What’s wrong with Papa John’s?

    1. If you have to ask that question then you would not understand the answer.

  9. “The party of old white men and their blue-haired spouses….”

    Like Rand Paul and Justin Amash, for example.

    1. Wowsers, you’re really on top of your scintillating analysis game this morning, aren’t you?

    2. There’s a whole GOP minstrel show of elected tokens these days. “Some of our best politicians aren’t white”.

      1. I’m not sure that these guys are tokens, but they are elected and thus in a position to do something other than bellyache in the comments section of Reason online.

        1. So they’re better than you, and you are better than us. You must be a Democrat.

    3. and their blue-haired spouses….


  10. The proper contrast to Domino’s is Little Caesar’s. Neither bears the slightest resemblance to food.

  11. The fact that less than 50% of registered voters cast a vote is proof positive that public interest is not being served by either of the two political parties. Now, considering all media is controlled by just 6 conglomerates that are owned by corporate globalists that will only pander to public opinion, it matters little which party wins the elections.

    There are only 535 seats in Congress and that number pales in comparison to the number of paid lobbyists that influence legislation. This government cannot and will not fix itself. Where does that leave the concerned citizens that can see the real and present danger facing our nation today? Most people have been lulled to sleep in apathy and indifference.

    All I see in Congress is scripted theatrics. It doesn’t take much to see the reality of what is going on here. Empty promises and bold faced lies have become so common place they are almost expected. Most people either sense the futility of the situation or they are just incoherent to it all. As long as the majority of the public doesn’t feel threatened personally, it will be business as usual in Washington.

    Politicians are not the only ones being bought off these days. More people are enchanted by low gas prices than they are concerned about the shrinking value of the US dollar. These temporary enticements only serve to distract attention away from serious economic issues. The public suffers from dementia and the Oligarchs and Plutocrats know it. We are being patronized.

  12. I dunno, maybe it’s because I live in a brand-loyal town, but from my perspective, political brand-loyalty isn’t going anywhere, and seems stronger than ever.

    1. This. While people may be more inclined to criticize and bitch about their particular party, when the POTUS elections roll around it’s always “ya well Bush/Kerry/Obama/Mitt are awful, but can you imagine a Kerry/Bush/Mitt/Obama presidency?!?!?!”

    2. Something has happened in the last 6 years.

      The democrats went from complete dominance to the their worst position since the Civil war. So either there has been a major party realignment or the duopoly is becoming unstable.

      Either way, just blithely stating that nothing’s changed is wrong to the point of delusion.

    3. If you pay attention to the way people actually vote rather than their party registration, you can pretty clearly see that brand-loyalty remains pretty much unchanged. Social signaling has made it un-cool to officially affiliate with a political party, but when you go ahead and vote the same way it doesn’t really matter.

  13. my friend’s sister-in-law makes $77 /hr on the laptop . She has been out of a job for 10 months but last month her pay was $19730 just working on the laptop for a few hours. go to this website…………
    ????? http://www.netjob70.com

  14. If Republicans are Domino’s, then the Dems are Pizza Hut or Papa John’s or CiCi’s.

    Except the republicans are all pizza brands. Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital had acquired and repositioned Domino’s; Papa John’s lobbied against Obamacare (still not enough for me to buy shitty pizza from a company that uses Manning in promos), and Godfather’s is a Herman Cain brand.

    The world of pizza is the world of the GOP.

    1. Pizza Hut donates to Planned Parenthood. I heard that during October they offer a special women’s health pizza with dead babies as toppings.

  15. OT: Ingrateful shits claim asylum in a foreign country, and then bitch when they’re not put up in a big enough city.

    When the transport arrived at a housing centre in Grytan south of ?stersund the asylum-seekers didn’t like the look of what they saw.

    “I am 75-years-old and come from the Middle East. Then I get sent to a place that looks like this,” said a man from Syria to the local ?stersunds-Posten daily, pointing to the icy road.

    “It is dangerous for me to be here,” he said.

    The asylum-seekers, who originate from several countries, refused to leave the bus when it arrived at the small Swedish town. The police were called to assist at the scene but declined to help in escorting the group from the bus.

    The group is demanding that they be returned to Malm? or some other bigger city.

    I tend to favor more open borders, but assholes like this make me want to say send them back home.

    1. He’s pissed that there’s no goats to fuck, nor Jooos to oppress in that village.

      1. Not enough white women to rape.

    2. My daughter moved from Texas to Lake Tahoe, and was surprised when they got several feet of snow.

      But she was 17, not 75.

      It’s freaking Sweden. Way far north. The streets in the cities freeze too.

  16. Dude is like totally rokcing in


  17. Spineless Cowards John Boehner and Mitch McConnell’s new plan is to pretend to oppose Obama’s illegal suspension of America’s existing immigration and border laws, while covertly protecting Obama’s abuse of power and conspiring to rubber stamp and forgive Obama’s dictatorial actions with amnesty legislation slipped into law later on.

    The only chance Americans have at defeating this new amnesty threat legislatively is if John Boehner and or Mitch McConnell are removed from their leadership positions.

    Please bring yourself and others rapidly up to speed on this crisis and be prepared to lead the way when our alerts go out from http://www.ALIPAC.us early Monday morning. Every American is urged to pick-up the phone. US Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121; (the toll free number is 1- 866-220-0044) and join other conservatives who are committed to flood the phone lines on Capitol Hill with this simple message.’ IGNORE THE PEOPLE AT YOUR OWN PERIL.’

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