Opinion: Fiji Republicans and Subaru Democrats


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Another tip of the hat to Mike Allen over at for pointing out a new New Yorker article that looks inside the ultimately successful campaign of Sen. John McCain, the Republicans’ presumptive presidential nominee regardless of what happens in Wisconsin today.

The long, well-written piece by Ryan Lizza in the Feb. 25 issue is full of delicious detail about life on the trail on and off the McCain bus.


One particularly revealing passage may surprise some readers about how well-refined political campaigns have become in their research and determining our political leanings and distastes from seemingly superficial tastes. This enables them to ‘micro-target’ messages to numerous niches, which is what is invisibly going on right now and will continue through Nov. 4.

The revelation comes from Steve Schmidt, a Republican political operative who’s worked for George W. Bush, Arnold Schwarzenegger and now McCain. He was just talking as the bus cruised along the highway between stops not long ago when he said:

During one back-of-the-bus conversation, he explained that in 2004, when he was working for Bush’s reëlection, “we targeted voters not where they lived but how they lived their lives, in the same way that credit-card companies do.” He went on, “And so we know, for instance, that among independent voters there are life styles and behaviors that identify them as Republicans or Democrats. For example, the GMC Yukon is a Republican vehicle, and Volvos and Subarus are the most Democratic vehicles. ‘Republicans have Fiji water preferences, versus Democrats, who have Evian water preferences. You have a huge grouping of consumer data, so you can micro-target messages to common groups, finding pleasure points and anger points on issues.”

And you thought you were making up your own mind about the candidates. The complete New Yorker article is available here.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Photo: Charles Dharapak / Associated Press