A new plan for the Grand Old Party.
In light of the 2013 election with Chris Christie getting elected and Ken Cuccinelli getting defeated, the Republican Party establishment will look at the results and think that in 2014 and 2016 that they need to go moderate; and they will be wrong. There are several problems with the Republican Party and they need to be addressed if the party is going to be viable and effective.
• The Party needs to decide who and what they are.
Are they conservative? Are they moderate? Are they idealogically pure or is there a big tent mindset? As someone who is an aspiring campaign manager and has studied politics most of her life, I have a solution. I think that the Republican Party needs to be primarily conservative with moderate elements but those moderate elements MUST understand that they are in the minority in this party and that they can’t tell the majority what to do. The party needs to be conservative to provide voters a clear choice. I often hear people say “There’s no difference between the parties.” Any more that’s true when speaking of the GOP establishment and the Democrat Party; but contrast the Tea Party with the Democrats and you get a stark contrast. GOP history should be a lesson that when we run conservatives such as Ronald Reagan and how George W. Bush was sold to us, then we win. But when we run moderates like Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney we lose. So the GOP establishment needs to stop dead their headlong rush to embrace the Christie 2016 Presidential campaign NOW. The GOP needs to be looking around for articulate, charismatic conservatives who are women and minorities to break the stereotypical old, white guy candidate. Sen. Ted Cruz would be an excellent choice as would Gov. Bobby Jindal and Gov. Susannah Martinez. Until and unless the party decides that it’s conservative with moderate elements then the party will continue to struggle and be ineffective because it will continue to be at odds with itself.
• The GOP establishment needs to recognize that they are not listening to their base and are no longer connected with it.
This party is at war with itself because the establishment thinks it knows best and that the base is largely uninformed. So. Not. True. Just because we don’t live in the Beltway does not mean that we don’t know how to politic and win. In fact, because we don’t live in the Beltway makes us that much more effective. We are the ones that when gas prices change a few dollars it impacts us so much. We are the ones that have to watch as our hours get cut because of the “unintended” consequences of Obamacare. Because of that, we know far, far better the outcomes of what the policies that are enacted. This makes us unquiely qualified to know how to politic. It’s simple; people want the following: 1. A good job. 2. Low but wisely used taxes. 3. Low inflation so that the purchasing power is expanded for all people. 4. Security both at home and abroad. 5. A good education for themselves and their children. 6. Enough regulations in government and business to make things fair and still competitive. ANYTHING that falls outside of those should be secondary issues. The GOP leadership needs to find out what the conservative side of all of these issues are and run on it. If you need any help find that out, look up some of Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign speeches. They’re brilliant at showing in clear, concise ways how the American people would be better off with him and his conservative ideas as President.
• The Party needs a 21st Century version of The Contract with America.
The current Republican Party has an approval rating hovering around 22% and we’re supposed to win elections how? I learned from working at GE Capital that it’s not that the customer is always right; it’s that their perception is always right and if you can change the perception of the customer for the better you can keep the customer. The same is true for voters. The perception of the Republican Party is one of obstructionism, working for only rich people and wanting to impose values and even religion on people that don’t share those values. So here’s how to change the perception. First, come up with a comprehensive plan to tackle Obamacare, unemployment, immigration and foreign policy. Explain in as many ways, and in as many times as possible what that plan is. It has to be a plan that has its own ideas and not simply “We’re going to block this and say no to that.” Secondly, kick all social issues down to the states. If we are going to be conservative, we need to be truly conservative and get government out of people’s lives. We need to stop making social issues federal issues. Why? Because the social environment in Oklahoma is different than the social environment in New York City and it is not possible to make social issues a one size fits all proposition for a country as large and diverse as we are. It makes no sense for conservatives to walk around saying, “We want the federal government out of people’s lives except when it comes to abortion, gay marriage, and how the less fortunate are cared for.” It makes much more sense to say, “We want the federal government out of people’s lives and let the people in each state decide on these social issues for themselves.” That way the church-going woman in Oklahoma City is no longer a threat to the bed-hopping woman in New York City and vice versa. There are certain issues that must be dealt with at a federal level such as immigration and national defense but many issues should be the purview of the states. Giving voters a clear choice of federal control or the people of the state deciding the society of that state would definitely differentiate the parties.
• The Party needs to package the message to make it easy to understand, personal and yet in line with the principles of the Party.
So many times the GOP has the right ideas but they can’t convey them properly. Conveying the message is almost as important as the message itself. Once they devise a clear, concise, positive, freedom-expanding plan, they need to use both new and old media to get it out. They need to stop coming with pie-charts and start coming with people. They need to stop with the graphs and find the grandpas. They need to stop the lengthy policy discussions and start with how this policy helps the people.
If the Grand Old Party can stop attacking its own and start attacking the problems of this country, the elections will win themselves. As Field of Dreams said, “If you build it they will come.” So build it.