For those uninitiated, I am a former Republican. This does not mean I am a conservative and not a Republican, in popular parlance. I stopped calling myself a conservative a couple of years ago, because the word became mostly associated with beliefs I didn’t hold. I stopped really considering myself a conservative about a year ago. Whatever conservatism in America is today, I’m not it. In this dichotomous world, people are prone to label me liberal. I guess there is nothing wrong with being a liberal, but I don’t consider myself one. I consider myself to have a rightward disposition. Being one of the ones that left, I figured I might as well advise the GOP on how to get back into the game. Take it for it’s worth.
- Stop worrying about abortion. The GOP isn’t too pro-life. Any voter that left the GOP over abortion had other issues. Abortion was one of the few issues the GOP had going for it that can swing moderates and independents. The GOP isn’t going to win elections on abortion alone though. Thankfully it doesn’t have to do so.
- Gay marriage isn’t a deal breaker. Where this is a problem for the GOP is that its hard core base of middle-aged upper class whites are moving toward being broadly supportive of gay marriage. Supporting gay marriage overall is a fairly white phenomenon. In composition, each party is just about as supportive of gay marriage as the other, so any candidate using it as an issue cuts himself when he cuts the other guy. Regardless, I’m not sure any election outside of San Francisco has been swung on the issue.
- Oh but what about the yout’ vote? What about it? The yout’ vote is basic demographics: yuppie peter pans, poor people just getting by, and young families with middle class aspirations. The first two demographics have always polled well with Democrats. The last demographic has always polled well for Republicans. So what changed? That last demographic has been shrinking tremendously. Fewer people are getting married, and they are getting married later. Additionally, major recessions have ways of crushing higher income aspirations. Rather than patronizing the first demographic with appeals to gay marriage as some propose, the GOP would do well to work to expand the last group.
- Drill baby drill! I mean tax cuts. Where are the people going to turn? If the GOP was getting 70/30 out of the >$100,000 income demographic, this would be an argument. In the last presidential election it was 49/49. When the Democratic candidate is promising to raise taxes on people making over $200,000 a year and the Republican is calling for tax cuts, the return had better be more than 0. This isn’t to say taxes will never be an issue, because they will be and they have been. They aren’t a big enough issue to win in the current environment. When you have people like Ben Stein writing that it would be responsible to raise taxes on the rich, you should see that this club isn’t going to bring too many people into line.
- We must win the war. This is a very solid minority belief. It isn’t enough to win elections. No, you won’t win the peaceniks anyway. The people that look in profound sadness as another child is buried and another mother grieves are in play. I think McCain was able to win the primary because he was able to empathize with those that didn’t believe that no burden was too great. Parties pay a great price when they think sacrifice is noble and great but forget it is real. Obama will face real consequences if troops are not out of combat in Afghanistan and Iraq in 4 fours. He may face it in 2 years.
- We need to secure the Mexican border and send the illegals home, or perhaps not. It wasn’t enough to win several Arizona races, and it certainly isn’t enough to win national ones. The GOP does better when it focuses on assimilation, like requiring English. It insults the intelligence of many people when it focuses on getting rid of the current illegal immigrants. Needless to say minorities are alienated when the grassroots use illegal immigrant and Mexican interchangeably. Regrettably for all involved, this issue would benefit the GOP if it neglected it for a good long while. Amnesty is also very unpopular, so the Democrats don’t have anything really going for them.
- The Hispanic vote will save. If it keeps becoming Evangelical it just might. The Democrats are supposedly the natural constituency of the poor. Where people start breaking off because of social issues is around $22,000/yr income. If I were to speculate, this number is probably higher in the Hispanic community due to historical issues. The same speculation has been offered about the black vote as well though. The problem with outreach in both communities is that it is outreach. The GOP doesn’t have an urban policy (school choice is not an urban policy) and you aren’t going to reach voters if you don’t care about their issues. The organization is sparse and ineffective in the urban communities. Love him or hate him, Rudy Guiliani did more black and Hispanic outreach than many Republicans. It is hard to win points if you don’t show up.