GOP women get all the wrong messages

Really interesting comments in Politico's Women Rule newsletter today.

Republican pollster Christine Matthews tells Politico's Elizabeth Ralph that conservative women are dumping Trump en masse:

College educated women are gone, gone, gone from him, just gone. Suburban women, I would argue, are gone, gone, gone… And what’s really dire for him is with non-college educated women. So they voted for him by a large margin in 2016, and they’re starting to sort of abandon ship. He can’t have that and still win some of these upper Midwestern states…

The problem is that women are hearing all the wrong messages from Republican men...

Trump is making this party sort of a competition for who can be more masculine or more tough… So the rhetoric that’s coming out of the Republican Party is designed to appeal primarily to a male audience, non-college-educated men in particular. I think that’s one of the reasons we’re seeing the gap. Also, health care. The issue of health care is very, very important to women. And the Democrats talk about it a lot more than Republicans do.

Matthews - who worked on Republican Governor of Maryland Larry Hogan's campaign - says Trumpism will set the tone for many years:

I don’t think [the GOP] is going to reinvent itself in the next four to six years. I think Trumpism is probably going to be the defining feature still.”

I have a 20-year-old daughter, and it is honestly unfathomable to her to be a Republican... And if you look at the party I.D. trends for Gen Z and millennials, the Republicans are on track to basically have no women.

So what do Republicans need to change to bring women back?

If the Republican Party can once again respect science, respect experts, respect women, embrace diversity, entrepreneurship… then maybe there’s hope for the pipeline beyond [millennials].

The problem of course is the thinking, not the messaging. And that's harder to fix. But until the words matter, we can't expect any substantive changes.

Quick quote

"Social media polarizes our politics by allowing us all -- no matter how wrong we are about a political issue -- to find a large, enthusiastic group of people who are even wronger"

-- P.J. O'Rourke as quoted today by The Bulwark

LEGO lessons: discovering the right block should be messy

Young children have creative superpowers. We lose most of our creative capacity as we grow, neurologists tell us.

So I was intrigued by comments from designers at LEGO and IKEA about how children create and play.

Two key creativity insights are that children prefer discovering the right block from a messy, mixed pile of blocks (i.e. no sorting first) and that play stories don't necessarily stop when the blocks are put away.

The comments come from a short interview with these designers in the Italian media that a friend forwarded me. They were promoting the October launch of a LEGO+IKEA product collaboration called BYGGLEK. It's basically a LEGO storage box with a pegged lid for preserving half-built creations.

The idea of the box is to make it easy to start-stop-restart play without the realities of life (i.e. clean up!) interrupting the storyline.

Also, by design, the inside of the box doesn't have any dividers. All the blocks are one happy, messy mix. It's about discovering, not just choosing, the creation's next block.

Since the comments were translated from English into Italian, I was a little wary of re-translating their words back into English.

Instead, here's what Rasmus Buch Løgstrup, designer at LEGO Group, said in the press release announcing the collaboration last year:

“There’s a conflict between how grown-ups look at organizing and how children look at the creative play... Adults sort by typology - socks going into one drawer and belts into another. Kids sort by story, clustering it into different pieces, where you can have a half-built space ship. And in that, you can find the one piece that you need. What if we could turn that perceived mess into something wonderful?”

My 11-year-old confirmed the notion:

I kinda of think it's the point of LEGOs: looking for the pieces. If you can't find the piece you're looking for, you'll probably find something better.

As a communications professional used to packaging structured messages, I'm intrigued by the notion that disorder fosters discovery and creativity.

I also appreciated this comment from IKEA designer Andreas Fredriksson:

“We know that children continue the story building in their minds long after they have stopped playing with their toys. So we asked ourselves, couldn’t pause and play be a way to enable quick play?... That would make quick play easier and then build on the play that is continuing in the child’s mind anyway”

Undoubtedly there's a lesson there about designing our spaces to drive our creativity or productivity. But really I just liked the image of stories living on in the minds of children.

Seriously? Bloomberg asks Bill Gates about 5G mindcontrol

It's shocking when Bloomberg feels its newsworthy to ask Bill Gates about investing in vaccines to control people’s minds using 5G radio waves.

I'm not criticizing the Bloomberg journalists; they clearly don't give credence to these stupid conspiracy theories. But they do feel this distorted reality is serious enough that they need to ask the question and dedicate precious space to it in their final write up.

And so does Bill Gates. Here's his answer:

"It’s strange. They take the fact that I’m involved with vaccines and they just reverse it, so instead of giving money to save lives, I’m making money to get rid of lives. If that stops people from taking a vaccine or looking at the latest data about wearing a mask, then it’s a big problem"

What does it say about the state of things when this is a serious question that warrants a serious answer? This is Bill Gates talking to Bloomberg.

How did we get here? Communications is indeed in crisis...

Link to the full interview (paywall)