America Fest 2021 is GOP marketing genius. Why won't Democrats follow suit?

·3 min read
People react to the speech of Charlie Kirk, founder and president of Turning Point USA, during the Turning Point Action event at the Arizona Federal Theatre in Phoenix on July 24, 2021. The organization's America Fest 2021 comes to Phoenix later this month.
People react to the speech of Charlie Kirk, founder and president of Turning Point USA, during the Turning Point Action event at the Arizona Federal Theatre in Phoenix on July 24, 2021. The organization's America Fest 2021 comes to Phoenix later this month.

No one can deny it. When it comes to stirring core supporters’ passions, Trump Republicans are marketing masterminds – and they are leaving Democrats in the dust.

Just look at Turning Point USA’s America Fest 2021 in Phoenix later this month.

It’s a jaw-dropping, star-studded, four-day event featuring some of the nation’s most notorious conspiracy theorists.

Confirmed speakers include the group’s leader, Charlie Kirk, Fox news anchor Tucker Carlson, Sen. Ted Cruz, U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, Donald Trump Jr. and Arizona’s U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs.

GOP's 'best and brightest' will fire up its base

The right-wing folks gathering at America Fest 2021 are masters of deceit, to various degrees, spewing outright lies of a stolen 2020 presidential election, calling a Muslim congresswoman a “terrorist” and waging war on COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

The long list of attacks run the gamut from abortion to voting rights. These people are on a mission, and isn’t good for America’s future as a democratic republic.

It’s astonishing to see how effective the right-wingers are in connecting with Trump’s supporters to keep stirring their passion while Democrats just seem to be pointing at the danger.

Why can’t Democrats do the same to connect with voters? Why don’t they throw a star-studded fest in Phoenix, or any place else for that matter?

You can bet America Fest 2021, “featuring the best and brightest speakers in the country,’’ will be boisterous and feed fury to the movement’s soldiers, who in turn will go out spreading the gospel or worse.

You can bet Kari Lake will be there soaking up the crowd’s fiery enthusiasm to keep cementing her GOP nomination for governor next year.

And what about the Democrats? I find their seeming disarray nationally and locally exasperating.

Democrats don't have any similar plans

I get that the Democrats who control the White House and Congress are busy trying to govern under a thin-razor majority. But it is also clear that they aren’t connecting with voters with the same vigor, passion and determination as Trump’s Republicans.

Democrats have a lot to lose in next year’s midterms if they don’t do something drastic to rile up their base. At stake in Arizona is the Senate seat currently held by Mark Kelly, the governor’s race and competitive legislative districts that could determine control of the U.S. House.

I’ve been asking Democratic party leaders, elected officials and activists for months about their plans to counter the brewing red wave, and their answers aren’t encouraging.

They point to vague grassroots efforts, which have yet to catch fire. They talk about voter registration, which I have yet to see kick in high gear or at all.

In other words, they talk, they tweet, they huff and puff. But not much is happening to motivate their base, the core supporters they need to help bring others to the polls.

Do Dems even have a base? This is a problem

That brings me to another burning question: Who are the Democrats’ base, nationally and in Arizona? We just don’t know.

They may say they’re casting a wider net that includes everybody – white voters, independent voters, Latino voters, Black voters, and on and on.

But their actions and lack of a cohesive strategy – that we could tell, anyway – to target those in that wider net say otherwise, and that spells trouble for them at the polls.

Why can’t Democrats organize a huge and boisterous festival with their best and brightest and emerging leaders of all races in Phoenix, just like Turning Point USA?

I dare anyone to answer that question honestly and with precision. The need to even ask ask that is, as Trump would say, SAD.

Elvia Díaz is an editorial columnist for The Republic and azcentral. Reach her at 602-444-8606 or elvia.diaz@arizonarepublic.com. Follow her on Twitter, @elviadiaz1.

Subscribe to get more opinions content.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: America Fest 2021 is GOP marketing genius. Why don't Democrats copy?

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting