We got our arses kicked. There is no other way to say it. As we look back on the wreckage of this presidential/senatorial campaign, there is a lot of opportunities for improvement. Here are a few thoughts (added to the many already out there) on how to get off the carpet and get back into the fight:
1) Conservative wins, Crazy Does Not: We’re all conservatives here. While we may differ in degree on some issues, we’re all basically conservatives. When we put forth candidates who are articulate, normal conservatives, we win: i.e.: Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Pat Toomey, etc. It’s when we nominate crazy people that we get beat. When Todd Akin made his biologically and politically irresponsible “legitimate rape” comments, it handed the election to McCaskill even when Romney won the state. Similarly, we need to stop nominating vanity candidates like Carly Fiorina and Linda McMahon. Its ok to be moderate (though conservative is always better) when running from Connecticut, New Jersey and California, but you have to a) know what you’re doing and b) know how to express it. Vanity candidates usually don’t and, therefore, need to not be nominated by our party anymore.
2) We Need to Update Our Methods. After reading some of the things the Obama Campaign did to get their vote out, I’m quite frankly embarrased that I gave any money to the sinkhole. Their use of social media to contact their voters is astoundingly good and we need to catch up, quickly. Its not enough to have an Iphone App or twitter feed. We need people who know how to use those vehicles to reach potential voters.
Also, with regard to advertising: I’m a B1G football fan. I watch just about every Saturday in the fall. During a Penn State game a few weeks ago, I saw no less than 10 Obama commercials regarding the auto bailout during that game. Guess how many I saw from Romney? That’s right, zero. The guys watching football on Saturdays and Sundays are the same guys we need to have vote for us. This fundamental misunderstanding of our voters cost us big on Tuesday. By comparison, Obama’s campaign targeted single, college educated women. In so doing, they ran ads during Sex and the City re-runs and 2 Broke Girls (I’ve never seen this show). We need to better identify our voters, find out their viewing patterns and advertise. The bottom line is they did it, we didn’t and they won.
3) Education. When put to people, without party labels, our ideas are generally better received than those of the libs. The best example of this is video of Howard Stern reading Romney’s economic plan to people on the street in New York, without telling them that it’s Romney’s, and them agreeing with the plan. However, we don’t do a good enough job in educating people. We seem to assume that they naturally agree with us. We need to spend every day, between now and the midterms, educating the public about what we believe, the policies that we want to pursue and how it benefits them. When we do that we win, when we don’t we lose.
4) Demographics: I’ve come to hate this word, but there is validity in the notion that the composition of the country is changing. With the aid of a lapdog media, the general public (i.e. Not Us) have the general impression that the Republican Party/Conservative Movement/Tea Party is a bunch of old, rich white guys who hate gays, women, minorities and the poor. We need to correct this misunderstanding.
This is not to say we should change our principles on issues such as immigration. But there is a way to express our desire to secure the border prior to figuring out what to do with those here illegally that doesn’t alienate Hispanics to the point where they think we hate them. For example, one way might be to explain that while we would like to build a fence on the border, we want the fence to have plenty of gates, so as to let many immigrants in. We just want to ensure that we know who is entering our country and make sure a) that they aren’t criminals/kid touchers/terrorists, b) they aren’t carrying any communicable diseases and c) aren’t coming here to mooch off the system. See, we’re saying the same thing, but in a way that’s tough to take offense to. After all, to argue with this is to say you’re in favor of letting kid touchers or terrorists into the country.
As to African-Americans, I thought Paul Ryan’s speech on the Civil Society in Cleveland was quite compelling. We should do more of that. While it will take time, I believe that by planting those seeds early and often, while contrasting our ideas with the failing schools and abject poverty that exists in many inner cities, we at least open a few ears. However, it has to be done in a way that doesn’t come across as saying “Hey You, get off your butt and get a job.” In other words, you can encourage people to think better of themselves and want more for themselves and their families without being a complete jerk.
While I expect some disagreement with what I’ve posted, I firmly believe that if we follow these general steps, we will hold the majority again in no time. That effort must start now.