Sunday, March 13, 2016

Why Political Rallies are Now Obsolete

Whether it was at the bar when I saw Fox, CNN, and HLN with their breaking news about Trump's Chicago rally, or my phone blowing up with all the social media comments about it, I calmly set my phone down, returned to my coffee, and continued my conversation with my friends because I knew something about political rallies most people don't.  And that is...

They don't matter.

And so before we waste precious hours of our finite lives come Monday morning, listening to the talking heads on talk radio or Fox News be "aghast" at the tyrannical behavior of leftist thugs, let the Ole Captain put things in context for you, so you not only save yourself some blood pressure, but hours of your lives you can't be wasting on what amounts to nothing more than never-ending political soap operas.

First, you need to understand that political rallies are very much like concerts.  If you think about it, concerts are stupid.  You spend your time and money to drive through rush hour-esque traffic, pay for parking, then like cattle shuffle into a euphemistically called "auditorium," where the acoustics are so poor a tinny 1930's radio sounds better.  Yes you get to see "your band," but the truth is for a fraction of the cost and hassle, you could have just stayed at home, fired up your MP3 player, with your home stereo system and enjoyed a much higher quality of music than what you'd hear at any concert.

Political rallies are the same thing.  You would have done a lot more had you stayed at home, penned off three letters to your congressman, donated what you would have paid for in parking or gas to your candidate's campaign fund, or merely wrote a thoughtful piece to convince your FB friends to vote for your candidate.

Second, political rallies are obsolete.  If this were the 1880's, sure.  Political rallies would have made sense.  Your only form of media was newspapers and a visual display of mass numbers of people may inspire (or intimidate) others to vote a certain way.  But with television, radio, not to mention this thing called "the internet," the mass groupings of people to convince the king he was 10 minutes from the guillotine if he didn't change aren't necessary.  A flood of e-mails, polls, or just watching the news will inform people and politicians what the nation thinks, much more than a mass of rally goers.

Third, the numbers of rallies no longer mean anything.

Trump claims there were 35,000 people at his rally in Chicago.  Which is fine and great, but...

Tennessee, just one state, experienced a 17% increase in primary votes, with a 2-1 margin of those being Republicans (all I'd say due to Trump), before any major rallies.

You do some quick math and those extra 56,000 Tennessean voters, 2/3rds of which were Trump-inspired Republican primary votes means without a rally, just the mere internet and news coverage of Trump, ONE moderately populated state produced 37,000 primary votes for Trump.

And VOTES are what matters, not attendees to a rally.

In other words, just like concerts, only die hard fans attend political rallies.  But also just like concerts, musicians don't much care about concert attendance as much as they do album sales, and ergo, politicians should be more concerned about prompting the silent majority to vote (ie - "buy their album") than merely attend their concert.

And Trump has obviously done that.

Fourth, political rallies are horrendously inefficient and horrendous wastes of resources, especially in the internet era.

In light of point #1, I remember attending ONE political rally and it's inefficiency became very apparent to me.  No politician saw us, I could not see how we would make a difference, and in the end it cost me about half a day of my time.  Had I instead done something else aside from standing there with a sign, it would have gone a much longer way to defeat the legislation I was hoping to defeat.

Now imagine you take that 4 hours (and say, $20 in gas and parking), and multiply that times the 35,000 Trump supporters at the Chicago rally.

Instead of the shit show anti-American, racist, socialist thugs made it, it could have instead been:

140,000 hours of Trump volunteers making calls to potential supporters.
140,000 well-thought pieces written to newspapers, new shows, talk shows, and social media
140,000 hours of people writing counter-pieces against Cruz, Bernie, Hillary, or Move
140,000 hours of canvassing, postering, etc.
$750,000 in donations ($20 in expenses those 35,000 could have donated instead)

And if you pro-rate those human hours at a $15/hour wage, that's $2.1 million these rally goers could have worked and donated to his campaign anyway.

And that's just Chicago!

Of course, the Ole Captain knows his SAEG (TM) will never be fully realized and to get political candidates to think with this laser like level of precise logic, let alone hire Asshole Consulting as an advisory, is wishful thinking.  But that doesn't mean we individuals have to make the same mistake twice.  So don't waste your time this upcoming Monday listening to the talk shows analyzing something that TRULY doesn't matter.  Spend the time instead defeating socialism in a manner that is useful, practical, and effective instead.
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Mark Matis said...

Except the value those rally attendees donated by being denied the ability to listen to Mr. Trump was worth FAR MORE than $2.1 million to Mr. Trump's campaign. The "protesters" have motivated MANY people to vote for The Donald. Surely you see that.

j said...

Rallies are fuel for the media/political/voter feedback loop. Big rally gets coverage which is amped by media so voter hears momentum running to canidate who had big rally. Rallies matter as part of the loop. In themselves they are as big a waste of time as lawn signs and robo-calls.

Anonymous said...

First of all, while there are poor venues, there are also very good venues and outdoor concerts that provide good to great acoustics and an entertainment experience with a cost benefit ratio greater than 1.0. There also may be a chance to make social connections.

While there is a certain logic to what you say, I'm not sure how valid it is. I'm not at all convinced any meaningful percentage of Trump supporters are employable or can read/write/speak the English language, let alone produce a "well-thought" piece. I'd probably be annoyed if a candidate I supported called me, as a "potential" supporter it would be like begging me to vote against them. Trump inspired many people to vote for him, but many more to vote against him. As he likes to point out $2.1M doesn't matter to him.

Even if it were super-literate Kasich supporters I'm not sure it would mater much, people got to do their thing.

Unknown said...

This is just excellent and i lapped up the finest good sense that pervades it. (Who is the Captain and why does he have an NZ URL address?)

The Sage said...

The main function of a rally is signalling -- how many people accept the cost in time and money to show up. As such it's more than a straw poll, it's actively standing up to be counted. Plus onlookers can laugh at events where there's under 10% of capacity present.

Google serves up URLs local to the reader, for better filtering by your local authorities.

Tuongis said...

Musicians do care about concert attendance as they make way from concert tickets than they do from album sales. This is especially true in the Internet era where so many songs and albums are pirated.

Volunteers already make calls to Trump supporters.

Writing to newspapers and writing counter-pieces is a waste of time. The media will be against Trump regardless of how well written his arguments are. Politics is more emotional than logical anyway.

Trump doesn't need donations. He's a billionaire who is self-financing his campaign. That's part of his appeal.

I agree you shouldn't bother watching talk shows, the best way to stick it to the current corrupt establishment is to vote Trump.

Anonymous said...

Liberalism has been in control since 1789 because liberals control the cities. Mass urban sociology is the engine of political power. Occitanians and Bavarians and Scots-Irish and White Russians and Tibetans found this out the hard way.

When rural conservatives want to beat the mob, they have to play like the Kurds or Albanians and breed their way into power against the establishment, and this is harder than it sounds. In the modern era, it usually involves Islam and it always involves poverty and angry animal spirits.

Urban rallies are almost always more effective now. Fringe free mason and reform Judaism movements found staggering success just from living in the most important locations, even if they didn't have muscle or even money. They had population density and a willingness to network, and so they were able to win control of the culture and manipulate it to their purposes. This is such a powerful phenomenon that even the most worthless universities are still the most important political institutions in their regions.

Even degenerates like Lenin and Hitler and Castro could take power from a mob. It's absolutely never to be underestimated, even if it's the very bottom of the caste ladder. Giving up the car and learning to love walkable "hipster" living is the first step to organizing a constituency. Less physical movement --> more political movement.

Trump gets this. He knows that Manhattan is inherently a more important location than a sprawling nowhere like Tampa or Phoenix. He has justifiably satisfied the flyover prole base, and now he is moving on to the kind of tactics valued in the metropolises. New York and California and most especially Illinois are now paying the f*@$ attention and it's working. He has true empathy, the ability to connect with anyone and it's a two-way street. Cruz can only settle for emulation for his public pose, and making up for this deficit with technocratic finesse and backroom deals can only go so far.

Unknown said...

"....big a waste of time as lawn signs...."

Sorry to burst your little bubble of ignorance, but many surveys have shown the effectiveness of "lawn signs" as a political motivation/persuasion device.

They are a pain in the a**, but effective nonetheless.

grey enlightenment said...

yeah, it' all noise and mostly a waste of time

GSP said...

Good article, and spot on with one exception. Musical artists are far more concerned with ticket sales than album sales, as concerts touring generates the lions share of their revenue.

Anonymous said...

You strict logic, especially your comparison of concerts vs staying home shows how little you understand human beings. Humans are emotional creatures, largely driven by feeling and appearance rather than strict logic.
I used to be a DJ, and I distinctly remember a moment where I dropped the absolutely perfect song at just the right moment... Instantly the crowds energy went into space. The hair on the back of my neck stood on end.
There is something that logic can't define, can't understand when dealing with shared emotional experiences like a concert.
Your entire point is invalid on its face due to the lack of tabulating the need for emotional connection in humans.
News paper is dying because there are more efficient ways to enjoy the news, a concert? It lives on due to people wanting to feel it!

Anonymous said...

heresolong said...

Hey Tuongis,

Trump isn't self financing anything. Another lie by the Trump campaign. He loaned his campaign the money and then it can be paid back by the donations from his supporters.

Anonymous said...

Ha, I always thought that going to live events like concerts, sporting events and even the movies were rather inefficient ( and therefore rather senseless ) ways to spend one's time. If you want to listen to a particular musical act, watch breadcirus or enjoy a movie there are certainly more effective and arguably enjoyable ways to do that remotely from home. Concerts are loud, "hot and sticky," and offer a lower sound quality of music than an mp3. Sporting events lack the viewer friendly camera angles and commentary that is so key to the modern experience of sitting down for 2 to 4 hours and watching the game. Movie theaters, while providing a great big screen to watch the latest femcunt propaganda from Hollywood, are filled with other people who can ruin your experience in unpredictable ways. Hell you can pause your Netflix stream while you go to the shitter or take it with you via a phone/tablet. Perhaps, the only value in going to these events is to fulfill our primal need to be apart of a crowd. There's nothing particularly wrong with that.

Clarey, since you travel around this once great country of ours (and seem to like doing so) so often, I suggest as your audience expands you explore doing "Asshole Live" or "Captain Capitalism's Boot Camp."

Tucanae Services said...

Rallies may not be efficient, but that is not the point of having them. In the Era of Kings, the monarch would present himself to the assembled peasants of his existence once a year. That was to validate the right to tax. Our own SOTU takes on that flavor these days. The presence of the monarch sealed the idea of "He's my guy." Rallies are not for gaining new recruits but keeping the current faithful fired up. The pressing of the flesh is to seal in the mind of the voter an impression he's one of us. All part of retail politics.

Jonathan Graehl said...

Yes, and everyone should telework. And conferences should be virtual.

There's something newsworthy in a large gathering of folks in person still. If that ever disappears, then yes, of course you're right.