Republicans should heed the cultural message in Chevrolet’s TV commercials


Ron Brownstein offers a POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE on the situation:

To understand the rolling demographic and cultural trends threatening the GOP in presidential elections, a good place to start might be with the polychromatic ads Chevrolet is running during the Olympics.

First, consider the source. Chevrolet is not a company that equates buying its product with saving the planet. It doesn’t champion the rain forest, organic farmers, or artisanal suppliers with beards like Civil War soldiers. In the past, its ads have linked the company, without apparent irony, to “baseball, hot dogs, [and] apple pie.”

But Chevy’s latest ads, under the title “The New Us,” celebrate the transformation of the American family into a kaleidoscopic array of new forms. In cascading images, one ad [see video below] warmly portrays couples of every race and ethnicity, interracial couples, gay male couples, gay female couples—all raising what appear to be happy, well-adjusted children. Not only does Heather have two mommies; in the world Chevrolet evokes, she’s perfectly fine with it. “While what it means to be a family hasn’t changed, what a family looks like, has,” the ad intones. “This is the new us.”

The “new us” bears more than a passing resemblance to the new coalition that has allowed Democrats to win the popular vote in five of the past six presidential elections. As the veteran Democratic pollster Stanley B. Greenberg has said, the modern Democratic national coalition is essentially diverse America and the portions of white America (largely white-collar whites, especially women) who are comfortable with diverse America.

That doesn’t mean, by any count, that all of the GOP coalition is uneasy with the trends of growing racial diversity and acceptance of homosexuality the Chevrolet ad evokes. But it is fair to say that the portions of American society most uneasy about these changes—particularly many blue-collar, older, and rural whites—are concentrated within that coalition.



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