Q&A Friday #106: How Do We Appeal To More Independent Voters?

Question: After 2.5 years of Obama, conservatism seems to have plateaued, and in some cases (Ohio, and WI) we are seeing some push back on the right’s agenda. Do you see any opportunities to make more progress to appeal to voters about the freedom loving principles upon which the country was founded? Or should we expect to continue to watch the country collapse and come apart at the seams, which will inevitably happen when the money runs out and all the “special groups” have to fight for scraps.

What will it take to get lifelong democrats to take a second look at Republicans. — earlgrey133

Answer: First off, keep in mind that the GOP had its best election cycle in 50 years in 2010. After that type of performance, it was inevitable that we were going to slip back towards the mean. Plus, you have to keep in mind that the Democrats aren’t going to just get their butts kicked and then crawl home to mama. They’re going to do what they can to get back in the game.

Now, there are different short term and long term political tactics we can use to fight back against that, but I think there’s one area in particular where conservatives tend to blow it in a way that keeps us from doing much better with the middle class.

Conservatives tend to talk about principles almost to the point of obsession — which is fine, as far as it goes. But, we have to remember that the average American isn’t picking whom he’s going to support based on principles; his support is going to the politician who he thinks is going to make his life better or at least prevent the other guy from making his life worse.

A lot of times, we don’t phrase our arguments with that in mind. Because of that, we can come across to the average person who’s not all that politically involved as ideologues battling over abstract ideals that don’t really impact their lives. Of course, that’s not true, but it’s a perception we end up creating because of the way we talk about issues.

When we’re talking to voters, we should be talking about things like making the price they pay for gas cheaper, preventing their wives and daughters from being molested by the TSA, making sure they’ll still get Medicare and Social Security by keeping the programs solvent, making sure the money they’ve saved isn’t made worthless by hyperinflation caused by the debt, keeping their taxes from being wasted by the government, fighting to make sure their healthcare isn’t ruined by government.

If we figure out ways to make people’s lives better with conservative principles and explain it that way, we’ll bring over a lot more converts to the cause.

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