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How Republicans Can Win: Some Thoughts


Via Powerlineblog comes this excerpt from David Horowitz’s pamphlet “Go For the Heart: How Republicans Can Win”, which gives some good advice to those who would advance the protection of life, liberty, and property because out of the two parties only the Republican Party right now contains a sizable portion of people that are fighting for these values. From the pamphlet:

…After voters re-elected an administration that added five trillion dollars to the nation’s debt, left 23 million Americans unemployed, surrendered Iraq to America’s enemy Iran, and enabled the Muslim Brotherhood to gain control of the largest country in the Middle East, the one lesson Republicans should agree on is that elections are driven by emotions, not reason. Moreover, when it comes to mobilizing emotions, Democrats beat Republicans hands down.

Worse, Republicans appear unable to learn from their losses. Year after year, Democrats accuse Republicans of the same imaginary crimes – waging wars on women, not caring about minorities, and inflicting pain on working Americans to benefit the wealthy. And year after year, Republicans have no effective responses to neutralize these attacks. Or to take the battle to the enemy’s camp….

…“Caring” is not one among many issues in an election. It is the central one. Since most policy issues are complicated, voters want to know above everything else just whom they can trust to sort out the complexities and represent them. Before voters cast their ballots for policies or values they want a candidate or party that cares about them.

How crucial is this concern? In the 2012 election, 70% of Asian Americans cast their ballots for Obama, even though Asians share Republican values, are family oriented, entrepreneurial, and traditional. Asian Americans voted for Obama because they were persuaded that he cared for minorities – for them, and Romney didn’t…

…(Republicans) avoid finger pointing – naming an adversary and holding him accountable. Elections are adversarial. They are about defeating opponents.

Elections are necessarily about “us” and “them.” Democrats are as adept at framing “them,” as Republicans are not. Democrats know how to incite envy and resentment, distrust and fear, and to direct these volatile emotions towards their Republican opponents. Meanwhile, Republicans are busy complaining about the style of the Democrats’ argument….

…An exit poll conducted by CNN asked, “What is the most important candidate quality to your vote?” Among the four choices were, “Strong Leader,” “Shares Your Values,” “Has A Vision for the Future,” and “Cares about People.” Romney won the first three by more than 54%. But he lost “Cares About People” by 81-18%. That says it all….

…(Republicans) are defensive, and they are whiny, and also complicated. Of course elections are divisive – that is their nature. One side gets to win and the other side loses. But even more troublesome is the fact that responses like (those that the Republicans give) require additional information and lengthy explanations to make sense. Appeals to reason are buried in the raucous noise that is electoral politics. Sorting out the truth would be a daunting task, even if voters were left alone to make up their minds…

The pamphlet goes on to discuss more lessons from the last election and ways that Republicans can win them- if they want to. I agree with a lot of these sentiments. After the first Presidential debate in which Romney stormed back into the race, I wrote after that “Governor Romney was successful in this debate into making this election into a decision on whether or not to continue Obama’s policies or change them” and “Romney appeared to be in the debate and attacking his policies and theories of government”, which resulted in a big win for Romney. But in the third debate, which sealed his eventual loss, I wrote after that “I don’t think Romney did what he needed to do in this debate to win the election- Obama was aggressive, critical, petty, and had a lot of good lines- and won the debate” and “Romney asked a question about Pakistan, answered the question with a lot of solid policies and well-thought out ideas- but no attacks on Obama though.” After the first debate I thought Romney had a chance to win it- after the last debate I wrote that he missed the chance- and the reason why is that he didn’t understand how to win elections.

Next election, I think we need to seriously think about nominating a winner for office- someone who has battled to win tough and bitter and rough primary and general elections for a range of offices. Someone who doesn’t pull punches, who rips his opponent when given an opening, and who realizes that this isn’t all just fun and games but is really important stuff. I don’t care about the prestige of the office, or caring about who is offended or pissed off- I want someone who cares passionately about not destroying our nation’s prosperity, future, liberty, freedoms, and life through bad policies. The policies are bad- and the people who advance them need to know this and aggressively and soundly know it.

So a rough campaigner next time who wins elections, instead of a solid and sensible choice who successful manages operations. Scott Walker? Chris Christie? Marco Rubio? Ted Cruz? Bobby Jindhal? All of these people need to show me over the next four years that they can fight- and win.

Original Post: A Conservative Teacher

How Republicans Can Win: Some Thoughts

  • John Carey

    This is spot-on. I read one of his pamphlets “How to Beat Democrats” from the year 2001 and when you read it, you see all that they use the same tactics over and over again, Tactics that stir emotion and make you feel like they care for you. The other advantage the left has is they manage to put boots on the ground in key battleground states. The Republicans absolutely suck with this. Conservatives need to connect with the people again like Ronald Reagan did.