Dumb Freakin’ Label (DFL)

Increasingly, the language of brand management is being adopted by political communicators. Well, if Minnesota’s left-leaning political hacks are serious about practicing good brand management, they should start by reconsidering the whole “Democratic Farmer Labor (DFL) Party” thing.

Minnesotans’ insistence on applying the “farmer labor” appendage is odd. To begin with, if you are insecure, it causes you to wonder why your employment group isn’t precious enough to be represented in the name. “What, consultants are chopped liver?”

An affiliate should have a darn good reason for brand secession, and the DFL has no such reason. Are Minnesota Democrats really THAT different from the rest of the national party that they need their own sub-brand?

No. Minnesota doesn’t have more “farmers” and “laborers” than other states. In fact, only about 8% of Minnesotans work in agricultural production. Many large square states have a higher proportion of farmers than we do. Moreover, I believe that number is on the decline, and that farmers aren’t overwhelmingly devout Democratic supporters anymore.

As for “labor,” only about 16% of Minnesotans are members of labor unions. By my count, eight states have a higher proportion of union members than us.

I’m neither anti-labor nor anti-farmer, but there is no good reason why Minnesota should be the only state in the nation to specifically call out “labor” and “farmer” in its name, to the exclusion of the 84% Minnesotans who do not carry a union card and the 92% who don’t own a single seed cap.

Dedicated number cruncher that I am, I set out to add 8% (farmers) and 16% (laborererers). After applying quad-gonzo squared regression analysis, I determined that 24% of Minnesotans are specifically represented in the DFL brand name. Then I consulted historical election returns, and learned that, get this, 24% is not enough to win elections. For an organization whose mission is to win elections, this might just be relevant data.

Mr. Melendez, tear down those four syllables!

By the way, such de-branding would not be unprecedented. A few years back the Minnesota party formerly known as the Independent Republican (IR) Party was wise enough to drop its first four syllables. Perhaps the party’s increased fealty to special interest litmus tests subjected it to truth-in-labeling legal exposure if it continued to use “independent?”

Yes, I am fully aware of the glorious history behind the DFL name. Well, kind of aware anyway. As I understand it, once upon a time — over six decades ago actually – Hubert Horatio Humphrey The First and his merry band of party founders struck a sweet deal to merge two competing parties, the Minnesota Democratic Party and the Farmer-Labor Party. To seal the deal, Hubert Horatio apparently gave both parties naming rights, and presumably lots of awesome pork barrel and patronage jobs.

You heard me right. I said “six decades ago.” In America, we never feel bound to keep agreements that are six years old, much less six decades! I’m sure the three remaining Farmer-Labor Party groupies will get over it when we de-brand.

Let’s do this thing, people. Let’s eradicate those oppressive four syllables!

And if you don’t, I swear I’m not voting for your candidates until you amend “consultant” onto the name.

— Loveland

standby letter of credit kind