OPINION: Republicans Must Communicate United, Conservative Message To Voters
By Josh Weizel – Editorial Editor
The year 1968 marked a transformative and new age in American politics and for the Democratic Party. The Vietnam War and the outcry of the civil rights movement lead to the rise of the New Left. The New Left distanced itself from the old Democratic Party in that they did not believe in gaining their support through labor unions and the working class, but instead they focused on the issue of civil rights and the Vietnam War. There were those in the New Left movement who went as far as being anarchist and believing that America was not an exceptional country. This New Left rise had caused the Democratic Party to lose major elections in 1972, 1984, and 1988 since those candidates were perceived as being at the fringe of the Democratic Party.
This all changed in 1992 with the rise of The New Democratic Coalition which was led by the governor from Arkansas, Bill Clinton. The main goal of the New Democratic Coalition was to hold on to the core progressive ideas of the Democratic Party of Franklin D. Roosevelt, such as advocating for more government action to protect workers and a safety net for those who cannot help themselves or have lost their job through no fault of their own, while at the same time strengthening foreign policy. The main goal of The New Democratic Coalition was to communicate their message to the working class and get their votes back. The strategy behind this was to explain and articulate to the working class why the Democratic Party was the party that stood for them.
The most misunderstood aspect about The New Democratic Coalition was that they were conservative Democrats when, in fact, the difference between The New Democratic Coalition and the new left wing of the Democratic Party was all about strategy because the more orthodox liberals wanted to continue only campaigning neighborhoods that would traditionally vote Democratic, but The New Democratic Coalition believed in also communicating their message to voters that would traditionally vote Democratic such as the working class and small business owners.
It is time for the Republican Party to use the same strategies of reaching out to nontraditional Republican voters to get elected and it is time for a transformative change in their strategy in getting elected. The Republican Party must stay steadfast to their ideas of economic conservatism. The Republicans must stick true to the ideologies of Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek by standing up for individual liberty and small government and free markets. They must stick to the core principles that the government does not know best how to determine human lives and that individuals know best in making decisions about issues that affect their own lives such as healthcare education and consumer choice and local control of issues like education instead of top down centralized control They must remain true to the ideology of economic conservatism but they must communicate this message to larger audiences.
It is not enough for conservatives to talk rhetoric to their extreme and white working class base but instead they must communicate the ideas to African-Americans and Hispanics that government does not know best and that the policies of big government affect the most. They must communicate to these constituents an alternative which is the idea that if they are allowed to keep more of their own money they are more likely to succeed.
On the other hand, Republicans cannot claim to support small government when Republican administrations support widespread increases in government spending and regulation. George W. Bush expanded and spent more on the war on poverty more than Lyndon Johnson did. The fact is George W. Bush increased the debt to trillions of dollars and broke away from the principles of fiscal sanity and cutting spending. George Bush and Dick Cheney betrayed the constitutional, conservative ideas of giving all citizens equal due process to the law and rights to a fair and speedy trial even if they are accused of being terrorists and this shamed the Republican Party.
The worst betrayal of George W. Bush was the idea that education must be centralized and that mandating government testing is the way to go in education. The best solutions for education comes from the local level and there cannot be one-size-fits-all standardized assignments for every student in the United States because every student has their own unique differences and all students learn at different paces. The truth that progressive Democrats and unfortunately some Republicans don’t want to hear is the fact that the United States spends more on education than other industrialized country, but U.S. students lack many independent and critical thinking skills. During the last 40 years, the United States has spent $1.8 trillion on education, but the truth is there has been no significant outcome in student progress. These Republicans must learn that answer is not more spending but instead reforming existing programs and this cannot be done by the federal government but must be done by local communities and private individuals.
In order to have more diversity in their party, Republicans must also abandon orthodox conservative ideas about race relations and immigration reform. Republicans must learn that it is not just a left wing idea to support expanded voting rights to minorities. Despite the rhetoric about Frederic Douglas being a progressive, if he was alive today he was a traditional liberal and like Barry Goldwater he supported ideas of self-reliance and economic liberty and not demonizing successful individuals which are traditional ideas that are fundamental to the Republican Party. Douglas said, “He who does not think himself worth saving from poverty and ignorance by his own efforts will hardly be through worth the efforts of anybody else.” The Republican Party needs to stop the Southern strategy because they cannot get elected just on spreading fear and hatred and making white working class voters in the South angry. Instead they need to gain votes by expanding their base and using a unified message. It would be wrong to abandon working class white voters but the party should focus on making a unifying message to unify both the African American working class and the white working class against big government controls and instead as a alternative for economic growth policies.
The Republicans also need to call out extremists in the conservative movement who have called President Obama a tyrant and a dictator. There is no moral sin against disagreeing with the president’s ideology and policies, but simply hating Obama will not grow the economic conservative movement. The Republicans must stand steadfast to small government ideology without holding on to tenacious strategies like using propaganda and demagogy and the power of fear to certain voters. When the extremist in the Republican Party do this it is just as heinous as the left wing fringe which tries to tear down the wealthy. The Republicans must stand up for their ideas of wealth creation and against the ideas of wealth redistribution and punishing those who have been successful. In order to win, they must state what they stand for instead of what they are against. If they are against Obamacare, then they must offer real common sense solutions, such as letting individuals buy insurance across state lines which would reduce the price of health insurance.
Any true Republican would be against the Common Core mandates imposed on local communities, but they must stand for alternatives such as local control of education. It is true that the poor and middle class are suffering in this country, but they must offer different solutions rather than spreading the wealth around. One idea for economic growth is tax cuts and growing the pie instead of spreading the wealth that is earned from the pie around. They must believe and run on the fact that civil liberties and the freedom to decide what you want to do with your own life, like who you marry, is just as important as economic liberty. If they want to get elected nationally again, they must understand that compromise is not a dirty word. The Republicans must understand that on foreign policy they can strike a middle ground and that they don’t have to stand for the extreme isolationism of the Ron Paul wing of the Republican Party or the extreme internationalist wing which includes those like Dick Cheney and John McCain. They must understand that our country can remain firm against authoritarian countries that are against us while at the same time remaining vigilant and not sending our troops into harm’s way unless it is the only way to secure peace.
The Tea Party movement started after eight years of a Republican president who had increased the role of government and the rise of Barack Obama’s own big government agenda. This movement at first was a positive movement that stood against fiscal irresponsibility in Washington, but those behind the movement have distorted what the Tea Party real stands for when they refuse to legislate and say no to every proposal by the president without offering solutions. It is time for the Republican Party to not just stand against big government, but they must offer a positive and optimistic agenda against big government.
(Some information courtesy ncpa.org, fairimmigration.org, monadnock.net)