Going Forward: What We Should and Should Not Do

by Sal on November 8, 2012

in Election 2012

As expected, everyone has their opinions on what needs to be done now that Obama has won a second term.  The suggestions range from the outright stupid (try to impeach Obama over his Birth Certificate) to the sinister (become more Democrat-Lite).  I’m just going to take a minute to address some of the suggestions I have seen and add some of my own to the conversation on what we should (and should not do) now that we’ve lost the election.

We most definitely should not:

  • Bring up Obama’s Birth Certificate again.  Ever.  This issue is settled and serves no purpose except to make Republicans look like kooks.
  • Talk state secession   Same effect as the Birth Certificate.
  • Plan open revolt (I’ve heard this one mentioned a few times), for obvious reasons.
  • Focus on voter fraud.  Fraud has been a part of Democrat campaigns since at least the 1960s.  We have to get over it.   It happens and there is little we can do about it.  We just need a sufficient majority that the fraud doesn’t matter.  Move on.
  • Focus on scandals.  This hasn’t worked against a Democrat president, ever.  Think Bill Clinton.  It doesn’t work.  The Drive-By media doesn’t care, and unfortunately without them most scandals don’t get legs.  It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about them or point them out, just that we shouldn’t tie our hopes to a scandal undoing the President.
  • Talk about Constitutional Amendments and Constitutional conventions.  This seems to be a popular one these days.  Besides logical arguments against each of these proposals, the core reason we shouldn’t focus on this is because it isn’t going to happen.  We would need the Senate to propose any amendments with 67 votes.  Since Democrats have 54 Senate seats, that isn’t going to happen.  Alternatively, we would need 34 State Legislatures to call a convention.  The GOP controls 28.  Again, besides being a bad idea, it just isn’t going to happen.  So why waste time on it?
  • Moderate our core principles.  We now have two election cycles with more moderate Republicans, and in both cases, they lost.  The answer isn’t moderation, it’s having clearer principles.

There are many things we should be doing, however:

  • Modernize our party.  It has to stop being the “Grand Old Party” and has to start focusing on a younger generation.  It needs to be more relevant and reach out more to the 18-29 age group, as that group is more engaged in the political process than ever before.
  • Get better at tech:  The GOP was trounced in social media outreach, mobile, and big data analytics.  We have to modernize here or risk a major structural disadvantage.
  • Reevaluate our platform:  Now, I’m not saying we need to moderate here.  I do think we need to define our core principles as Conservatives and then decide if some of our platform positions need to be reevaluated, retooled, or changed in message delivery.
  • Active, consistent outreach to groups that do not traditionally vote Republican.  This means that our party needs to invest in outreach to groups not traditionally Republican.  We need a presence in their communities, in their churches, in their neighborhoods.  We can’t start ceding every demographic to the Democrats.
  • Focus our message to the times:  The idea of limited government and freedom is appealing to many.  Yet we still talk about it the same way we did in the 1990s.  Time to update our message, simplify it, and make it clearer.
  • Don’t be afraid to contrast our principles with those of the Democrats.  Don’t be afraid to attack their policies.  McCain and Romney avoided that all too often.  The new leaders cannot.
  • We need to get the current establishment crop to step aside.  John Boehner, as good of a man as he may be, is not the face of the Republican Party that we want to convey.  We need someone younger, intelligent, more Conservative.

That’s my basic bullet list.  Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments.  To win the next battle we need to play smart, and focus our energies where they can have impact.  So let’s get to it!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mike November 8, 2012 at 10:21 am

People often confuse outreach with watering down principles. That really isn’t the case. Often, the key to reaching out is simply to talking to people, campaigning in their areas, looking them in they eye, telling them what you believe, and asking for their vote.

Jeb Bush lost a very close gubernatorial race in 1994 due to poor support among minorities. In 1998, he went to neighborhoods with high concentrations of blacks and hispanics, admitted that he made a mistake by not campaigning there in 1994, told them that the second time he was going to ask for their vote even if he didn’t get it. He went on to win twice and had more success with those voters than pretty much anyone on our side. It should also be noted that his message was still conservative; that was before he flirted with the idea of tax increases.

Boris Johnson is also doing the same thing in the UK right now (though that is partly due to his stances on social issues; we shouldn’t go there).

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