When you work in marketing, you learn quickly that the best thing you can do is create buzz. Get people talking about whatever you’re pushing, and :: boom :: you’re a success. There are all kinds of ways to get people to talk, and again, smart marketers understand this and know which levers to pull when they want to get you all frothy with excitement.
During an election cycle, it’s all about marketing. What the candidates actually say is virtually unimportant. Instead, it’s all about breaking big, complex thoughts down into quick soundbites and glossy memes. Marketers think nothing of distorting statistics to make a point that favors their candidate while implying that the other guy is a loser.
“Bernie Sanders has sponsored 362 bills during his time in Congress. 3 were signed into law”
So if you were the Clinton campaign, you might say that 99% of the laws sponsored by Bernie Sanders never became law. You’d be accurate, since it’s a completely true statement. Somebody paying attention, however, might ask the following questions:
“Well, how many did bills Hillary Clinton sponsor, and how many were signed into law?”
Unfortunately, those logical follow up questions doesn’t get asked (loudly) enough. People just take the easy soundbite and run with it. Or you’ll hear “We’re talking about Bernie, not Hillary.” You’ll start to see headlines that say “Bernie Sanders was only 1% effective in Congress.” or “Bernie Sanders fails 99% of time in Congress.” But since you asked … and thanks to GovTrack.US for the stats…
“Hillary Clinton has sponsored 417 bills during her time in Congress. 3 were signed into law.”
You may want to consider that Bernie entered Congress in 1991 and has been there ever since — a total of 25 years. Hillary served in the Senate from 2001 – 2009, 8 years in total. Maybe that sways your thinking about the previous numbers. Or maybe it doesn’t. Odds are you’re still railing about Bernie’s 1% effective rate in Congress. Again, accuracy is a relative term here. The 1% statement is totally valid only if you understand the context. Marketers just want to get you excited enough to act — they don’t care about context and accuracy. People are talking? They’re outraged? They’re rioting in the streets? Somebody back at the office is getting a raise!
By the way, we only discussed the number of bills and laws; we never bothered to look at the subject matter. Funny how that didn’t seem to matter until it was pointed out. Oh marketing, you’re so funny…