By Mark St. Cyr
No matter what side of the political aisle you stand, one thing is certain: The resulting outcome; on so many levels, as well as metrics; is one for the ages. The political fallout and its ever-increasing shaking of political norms and assumptions have now been cast into the trash bins of political history and forecasting, with some of those “dumpsters” being set ablaze.
Where things go from here is anyone’s guess. All one can do is watch, anticipate, and act accordingly. That’s what being in business is all about.
So it’s through this prism (for it’s what I do) as I watched Mrs. Clinton’s concession speech I couldn’t help but marvel at what I believed to be watching. For if I’m correct, what transpired at that presser was more inline with a business turnaround, or business crisis PR announcement event (think Tylenol® or even Wells Fargo™ for base-case relevance) rather than just your typical political concession speech.
Yes, the proper words for the “political” aspect were present. Yet, there was also something far more “present” that was absolutely striking too my eye. Albeit, it’s all conjecture on my part.
However, with that said, it’s my prior acumen in the field known as “turn-around specialist” that made things jump out, striking me as being so obvious, I couldn’t help but wonder incessantly was there truly any “there, there” of what I was calculating?
Again, through my business prism, it had all the characteristics of what many a company might do (or even what I myself might advise) when it finds itself knee-deep in either a business ending circumstance (think a profitable drug maker that just learns a cure has been found for its only product) or, one that suddenly finds its product/brand facing extinction via a new technology (think landline phones vs cell phones.) That’s what stuck me as I watched. And it hasn’t left me since.
The reason why I’m sharing this is in direct response to the reaction when I first made these observations, in real-time to a colleague as we were both watching the presser (i.e., I said “This looks more like a business PR rollout than a concession speech.”) Where he then stated, “Wait…What?” As I explained his face first went slack-jawed, then responded “Holy cr-p! I didn’t notice it that way, but now? I can’t see it being anything but.”
Whether or not I’m correct, I haven’t a clue. Yet, it would seem as to what I’ve heard, or read over the past few days via the main-stream venues of record – nobody (and I do mean nobody) has even questioned the glaring oddities I observed, let alone tried to put any reasoning together and ask, “Hmmmm, I wonder why…?”
So let’s dig in as they say and you can decide for yourself. However, if I am correct? What everyone thinks, and is taking at first blush as a purely “political” event? Where the defeated party or candidate rides slowly off into the sunset? May suddenly come to realize over the ensuing months and years was more akin to a new “political business rollout” presser. With far-reaching implications. Implications I’ll contend, that could affect everyone. Whether one agrees with them, or not.
First – the symbolic: Did you notice the color purple? I bet you did, and how could you not? And it’s for that reason I couldn’t help but start to think: Why? For it’s not like they were there to party like it was 1999, were they?
I’ve heard and read a few observations to the effect of: “Both her and Bill chose to wear purple to show unity and blah, blah, blah.” Well, that may be so, but I don’t think so. At least, not in the vein suggested.
I believe that overwhelming presence of purple was to subliminally push, or to stress, the new color of standard/banner for either a new political party, or, at the least, a new political movement to rally under. And it borders on branding genius if I’m correct in that assumption as I’ll try to explain. (Remember: I’m coming at this from the business side, not the political.)
Why purple? Well, there are two distinct reasons. First – purple is commonly acquainted with the mixing of red and blue i.e.,the blending of the traditional color standards of boys and girls, men and women, Democrats and Republicans and so on. So as to its prominence during that presser? It carries an immediate “hook” if you will, as to be used by others in solidarity for what may seem as all the “right” reasons.
It also has another feature ever the more subtle, yet present nonetheless: It’s associated with royalty of yesteryear, not because it “represented the people,” but because purple was the most expensive color to produce, only afforded by royalty.
The adornment of purple still sends to this day a subliminal message of “royalty” or “upper-classed elite.” And both Mrs., as well as Mr. Clinton’s display of it was not subtle. It was made (as seen by my eye) to be unavoidable. Why do I say this? Easy:
In all of the political situations where Mrs. Clinton was to be on a stage where millions upon millions of viewers were going to tune in expressly to watch, or be photographed by countless organizations (think any of the three televised debates) her attire was impeccable. Sure, some joke about the “pantsuit” thing, however, what you can’t joke about is the people responsible (and I would imagine Mrs. Clinton herself) charged with the task as to present her in the best light possible spared no expense as to make sure her outfits were as classy, reserved, and presidential as one could appear. I would extend that to the former president as well.
That is – until her concession speech. Again: Why?
That color purple, along with its tailoring, was not only overpowering (just look to Bill’s tie for clues) Mrs. Clinton’s outfit looked anything but the designer suit we’ve come accustomed to her wearing. Her attire looked more like something that was made for a one time Prince event she may have attended that was rummaged from the back of her closet or donation bin.
Just to clarify: I’m not trying to poke jabs at Mrs. Clinton’s outfit here for sport. What I am trying to do is rationalize why such a choice was made that was clearly uncharacteristic – unless – there was a very intentional meaning meant (for effect) behind it. Which I believe there was. And here’s why:
I believe the real reason why everyone had to wait till the next day for Mrs. Clinton’s concession speech was not because she was too tired, or as some have speculated “health reasons.” No. I’m of the opinion this was always Mrs. Clinton’s plan-B. But as the election drew on, both her and her surrogates (along with the entire main-stream media) thought it was a done deal and broomed it thinking there was no reason to have it at the ready.
Yet, when it proved it was Plan-B, or B-gone entirely? (and I believe the Clinton’s always to have a Plan-B for they have proven to be second to none in political brinksmanship) There was a mad-scramble on to both find an outfit (for optics) and ready the speech as best they could. Reasoning; the moment for implementation of that plan was that concession speech, and not a moment later, if any form of salvage was possible. Hence: “Go home, and we’ll see you all tomorrow!”
Suddenly what has come to be known as “Clinton Inc.” was finding itself going out-of-business. Whether you agree or not is up to you. However, with the revelations of Wikileaks and more, we now have some idea of why both Mr. and Mrs. Clinton were able to acquire such vast wealth, so quickly: It was through their foundations and all the attributes associated with it via their political connections.
Forget about any calls regarding impropriety or whether there are legal issues or not for the moment. And the reason why I say it is this: Even if everything was found to be legal (and that’s for others to decide, not me) the premise of there being a “Clinton Inc.” still stands, which is why I want/need to clarify that. Or said differently: Why people, companies, or countries would donate, or pay the Clinton’s $millions in speaking fees and/or donations going forward ended with Mrs. Clinton’s election loss. e.g., Ending the main funding reason (or product feature if you will) of “Clinton Inc.”
Effectively both her, as well as Bill are now on the outside of the political spectrum looking in. This is, for lack of a better term, the antithesis of their former main “product feature.” And with that comes a very, very, very (did I say very?) reduced speaking fee schedule, along with a sudden drought of once readily provided pleasantries. (i.e., free use of private jets, etc.)
This is a position the Clinton’s have never been in since entering the political fray, which has been nearly their entire lives.
Trust me, there are only a few things worse than a speaker who has lost their “star power” to command fees. One: is a Hollywood actor who has been type cast. Or two: a once powerful politician that lost what was viewed as a “slam-dunk” election. Nobody, and I do mean no-body once afforded the “goodies” at those levels ever becomes comfortable with the realization of “they’re gone,” along with the loss of social status where the old joke, “When the phone doesn’t ring – I know it’s them.” becomes your daily routine. The Clinton’s were looking at being the recipients of all of them.
A total makeover, or total reboot, is usually the only thing that may help. And I believe what we watched on Wednesday was just that: a total reboot, re-branding, and relaunching of the new (and improved?) “Clinton Inc.” But there’s an inherent problem with this new business model and plan if I’m correct. And it is this:
It will be all about division – not “unity.” For that’s where the money is in politics currently. Whether one likes to hear it – or not.
Currently there is a backlash against not only the president-elect, but more importantly – there is an outright civil war taking place within the Democrat Party apparatus. Both from within, as well as those which identify (and/or vote) with it.
And what would be the easiest group of disaffected people to start building, and more importantly fund-raising for?
Why the new (again, all speculative on my part) inclusive “Unity Party” of course, under the new color standard and banner of purple, shredding the iconic “blue” and leaving the “old guard” in its wake. And it just so happens (funny, no?) there’s a matriarch-in-waiting who just so happens to run/own a well founded political organization which can collect their “funds” and fight for their cause of “unity” because, after all, she won the popular vote and was “denied.” So, “She feels your pain!”
Are you beginning to see how this is setting up?
During her speech Mrs. Clinton stated not once – but twice – two very important declarations which were either intentionally not called out by the media in general, or worse, nobody even understands them.
And what were these declarations you ask? Hint: “In a representative democracy such as ours….”
Do you see the problem? For it explains in total why you have people screaming, setting fires, causing mayhem, and more believing they have some form of right to be violently angry because (they believe) something was stolen or denied them.
The problem? (for those that truly don’t understand) We are a representative republic. Not – “a representative democracy.”
This (in my opinion) was a deliberate statement trying to push forth a new political agenda (and the new “main product”) as to demagogue the electoral college. Again – that wouldn’t be about gathering unity – that would be all about further division.
And in so doing – if – it was for the sole purpose as to enrich, or ingratiate oneself for either monetary gain, or the keeping of one’s political/social status afloat? That’s a very dangerous game. Very, very dangerous indeed. Both for the purveyors, as well as the consumers of such drivel. Let alone the country as a whole.
(Remember: An electoral college prevents all the things (such as a King/Queen or Political Elite) from retaining or gaining all the power over its citizenry. Without it, using today as the example, if one could win all the votes of just 3 states like California, New York, and Texas. Their population, e.g., their “popular vote,” would dictate whatever they decided for the entire other 47 states and their populace. That’s why we have one (electoral college that is) and other “democracies” don’t. It protects the very things these “we won the popular vote!” worry about, yet don’t understand. But that’s for others far brighter, and more articulate than me to argue.)
So let’s put a little more context around this notion: Do you think a former First Lady, U.S. Senator, Secretary of State, and now former presidential nominee doesn’t know the difference between “representative democracy” and “representative republic?”
Do you think it was a slip-of-the tongue, twice? In one of her most important speeches to the public in her career? Where she’s reading from a teleprompter? Are you in need of buying a bridge located in Brooklyn?
Are you beginning to see why all that purple now makes sense seen via this prism?
Mrs. Clinton along with Bill, Chelsea, and the entire current working apparatus currently involved in the Clinton Foundation can now pivot and mesh right into a “brand new bag.” i.e., The Clinton Foundation For Political Unity. Or something to that effect, attacking the electoral college as “The enemy of democracy!”
Its logo? A purple banner with “Do it for her – Do it for us!” Or, ________(insert you platitude of choice here)
However, what is currently a far more important attribute? To “Clinton Inc.” that is?
An immediate set up, and destination, to handle all those disgruntled “fund raised” dollars that would most assuredly begin to roll in with near immediacy once fully implemented. Along with a place to now reserve bookings (for very high speaking fees I would assume) for what will obviously be its “royal couple.” Oh, yes: and a reason as to “hold onto” any remaining donations left over in the coffers since the election. You know, to put to good use for the sake of “the new movement!”
Gotta pay the bills some how, no?
“Clinton Inc.” (e.g., The foundation and everything else included and/or associated) isn’t just a business; it’s a big business, worth $10’s if not $100’s of millions of dollars annually. And in a business, any business (and politics is a business regardless of one’s feelings) no board, trustee, or other executive would ever just say, “OK, we’re done here, return any and all unused money, and last one out hits the lights!”
No, you either pivot, or announce damage control measures to bide time to figure out what to do next depending on the circumstance. Just closing up shop doesn’t happen. If you want an example of this in real-time for clues? Hint: Theranos™.
Remember: I see the world via a business perspective. And to say there is no such thing as a “Clinton Inc.” is naive at best, or willingly blind at worse. The Clinton’s, regardless of anything else, have made and taken their world and/or brand of political business to levels never dreamed of, let alone actually delivered on in recent history.
Most (if not all) only looked upon Mrs. Clinton’s concession speech from the political standpoint. I did not. And I believe this is why many missed the true reasoning, as well as messaging behind it. I viewed it as something entirely different and that difference is – from a complete business standpoint. It’s just what I do. Whether I’m right or wrong is for the history books to judge.
Again: If you look at all this via a business prism, rather than just a political? What would you expect out of the Foundation or the Clinton’s for that matter? If political pay-to-play (whether found to be legal or not) is now dead, with that direct line of funding (e.g., their “main product feature”) now worthless. How do you keep power and the money coming in?
Hint: Start a new movement with its own unique logo, branding, power structure, messaging, and funding all within your control, and startup takes little more than a flip-of-the-switch because seed funding is more or less already – in the bank. It’s absolutely brilliant from a business perspective.
Shed the colors of the “Blue” of the “Dems” and the “Red” of the “Repubs” into the new purple of “Stronger Together!” Hit up disgruntled Bernie Sanders followers with “We’re just as miffed as you! Donate now to the new cause!” “Why wait for another stolen democratic election! Fight now!! Send your donations to: ___________”
See what I mean? It writes itself. Again, from a business standpoint – it’s stunningly brazen as it is brilliant.
The political, as well as business instinct, along with the timing for execution (we are talking 24hrs here!) is freaking epic, as well as dazzling if I’m correct. Regardless if I agree with it, or not. That’s why it caught my attention the way it did, and still does. From a business standpoint (eschewing all other factors or feelings) it’s a stunning example of prowess on so many levels. Again, from my perspective which is entirely business – it’s jaw-droppingly brilliant.
At this moment the current Democrat Party brand is so soiled or tainted from within, it is far easier (in my opinion) to start a new movement in this climate, rather than try to resurrect, or reestablish the older one. The Republicans have a similar issue, but theirs will need to be done from a different vantage point. i.e., from the inside looking out, rather than the opposite which has different challenges for effectiveness than the other.
Which is precisely the reason all this can also be – so dangerous.
Take this pent-up demand (and dollars) that feels betrayed by not only the Democrat Party elite, but also the disaffected Bernie voters, and funnel all that pent-up anger (and don’t forget the $’s) into coffers via a new movement headed by, guess who? Then, channel it incorrectly, or into the wrong venues? And you have a recipe for outright disaster on a scale exponentially worse than anything that has transpired as of late. It’s gasoline, playing with matches, at a bomb storage facility in my opinion.
Already we see people like Michael Moore calling for an uprising. Do you think he’ll also be looking to “raise money” or be looking for “high paid speaking gigs” as one of the “patron saints” to get people “fired up!” in ending the Democrat party and the electoral college under the banner of something with the color purple ablaze on it? Hint: Bet on it.
So why do I propose all these reasonings and express them you may be asking? After all, I’m a business guy, not a political person. Well, it’s for this simple reason:
Being in business requires one to always be on the lookout as to be in the best place possible. And that “looking” for clues of opportunity is a 24/7/365 discipline for anyone that takes business seriously. While on the flip side of that, so too is being acutely aware of possible pitfalls or calamities at the same time.
It’s near impossible to turn it off once you’ve become highly attuned, focused, and painfully honed in that discipline. As I implied earlier: once garnered – it’s a 24/7/365 discipline that permeates your entire worldview in regards to everything. i.e., family, friends, business, politics, religion, etc., etc.
I understand in such a polarized political environment people may read far more into any observation, rather than what the original intent of the observation might portend. I’m not being, nor want any – and let me repeat that as to make it abundantly clear – any confusion as to the appearance or inference that I am making a political statement; calling for; or against; or anything else when it comes to politics.
Remember: I viewed that concession speech via my filters, and business acumen. My observations are of a business viewpoint and how businesses should acclimate within current environments, with an ever watchful eye towards the horizon for further clues of any coming changes. How you view them is entirely your own prerogative.
However there is also another reason, and it also pertains explicitly to businesses everywhere. And it is this:
In 2011 before there was any civil unrest in the U.S. there was Greece, with its political fallout, and its rioting. During that time I wrote an article imploring businesses to take seriously and set up emergency plans to what, or how they would react if such a thing happened here. Once during a speech I was delivering, there were obvious smirks of “stuff like that doesn’t happen here.” Then Occupy Wall St. emerged, and the resulting bedlam that followed.
Many businesses were caught completely flat-footed either needing to close down completely until it passed. Or worse, were closed down because of vandalism, looting, and more.
Over the subsequent years I’ve reposted that article when I felt appropriate as a reminder. I’ve since received far more “Thanks, we’ve never truly analyzed that aspect, in that way, and have taken that advice to heart.” far more than I’ve ever seen a smirk since. For these events haven’t decreased, have they?
And why did I state earlier for caution with this new “Clinton Inc.” and/or what it may portend?
Hint: Welcome to what may be the first of many new “purple” protests.
Have you viewed the landscape where your business is located and planned accordingly (if necessarily so) the possibility of it happening near you? If not – not only are you not paying attention, but worse, you may be not only leaving your business assets in jeopardy, but also your employees, with no understanding of what, or what not to do should circumstances prevail.
And from my perspective, that’s just unacceptable in business today. Period.
Read more at MarkStCyr.com.