07/31/2015 02:52 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Explain It or Stop It: Lessons in Transparency

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If necessity is the mother of invention, then our preoccupation with influence is the mother of the Playmaker system. Whether as buyers of products or voters for politicians, we are today as consumed by the meaning of things as their messages.

In a word, we're tired of being spun. Explain it or stop it, is the groundswell sentiment. We want transparency and we punish those who don't provide it. Consider the plays that prominent 2016 hopefuls are running. Sans-spin candidates who are educating us are being lifted. Slaves to spin and parsing are stalling.


HILLARY CLINTON It's clear that Hillary is all too careful. Her meticulous dodging of the email issue is proof enough, made possible through diverting strategies - Deflects (I was following policy and procedures) and Red Herrings (All my emails are out there...they're just not on my server). She's floundering and doesn't seem to see it.

JEB BUSH I'm my own man, says Jeb on Mondays. I take counsel from my brother, says Jeb on Tuesdays. That the brother and son of two former presidents is confusing (or confused) is cause to believe that (1) he's a lot like his relatives and (2) doesn't know why he's running. Jeb's got money, yes, but momentum, no.

DONALD TRUMP For all the celebrity The Donald craves and creates, Trump is unquestionably authentic, a form of transparency. He speaks his mind, often tactlessly, but his stunning self-aggrandizement resonates. Few think that Trump is spinning so his polls are up.

BERNIE SANDERS Why is America suffering? Bernie Sanders demands to know. It's the autocracies of Wall Street and the plutocrats who run them! he answers himself. Take away Trump's bravado and what you've got in Sanders is an equally clear and ferocious candidate. He is teaching. He is not hiding or rationalizing. And he's got a vision to advance. Who should be surprised by his surge?

These and 20 others are playmakers to be sure. But that Hillary is ducking with diverting plays and that Bush isn't saying much of anything correlates to their slow starts and low numbers. By contrast, Trump and Sanders are operating with pressing strategies, like the declaratory Fiat, and provoking plays, like Trump's Peacocks and Sanders' Call Outs. As such, their choices are both more engaging and transparent to targeted media and voters.

Explain it or stop it, is the grassroots demand of this cycle. So far, Trump and Sanders are following orders and winning accordingly.

Graphic courtesy of Playmaker Systems with content from candidate Facebook sites.