Whenever Republicans water down their message and pick “moderate” candidates to try and appease an extreme Leftist media and avoid “extreme right” accusations, they lose.
Why? Because given a choice between “Progressive” and “Progressive Lite,” most people will pick the real deal. When we fail to present a true alternative, we are essentially communicating that we don’t believe in our own principles and are afraid to admit or defend them. That doesn’t inspire voters – it turns them off.
It’s time for Republicans to grow a spine like Reagan did and unapologetically advance the principles of liberty and limited, constitutional government. We have the winning ideas, if only we dare to communicate them. As Reagan said, “I wasn’t a great communicator, but I communicated great things…”
Demography is not destiny and neither is the ever growing leviathan. Many think so now, but they forget the ebbs and flows of the tide of history. Conservatism is not done. The message of freedom and opportunity is not done.
No immigrant comes to the United States wanting to be on welfare. They come for a better life of hard work and success. What conservatives forget is that people forget.
And conservatives have done a terrible job reminding people.
Since Ronald Reagan rose from the ashes of the Goldwater movement, Republicans have articulated a message of freedom and opportunity — a rugged individualism that says if you work hard you can be what you want and do what you want. But people forget.
In the last decade or so, Republicans began to assume everyone just naturally agreed. They stopped explaining. They stopped being evangelists. Worse, conservatism morphed into Republicanism and instead of being about ideas, both became about the acquisition of power for the sake of power. Republicans no longer articulated a core set of principles through policy, but policies designed solely to keep them in power. The party leaders and many of its candidates began to do the same — freedom became a platitude, not a policy.
[C]onservatives must be able to show Americans in this age of a stagnant economy that conservatism has ideas not just to make one prosperous, but also to help the poor and needy. There are those who do depend on and deserve a helping hand. If the GOP cannot show how small government lifts people up and provides for those who cannot, the GOP will fail.
Republicans should not be afraid to be obstructionist, but must be willing to explain that the obstruction prevents the passage of ideas that history once discarded before we all forgot.
These are exciting times for the conservative movement. But the conservative movement must get up and lead now — lead with conservative ideas for the GOP, not a Republican agenda packaged as conservative. We must begin again anew talking conservatism as evangelists, not fellow travelers. We must remember we are not in a permanent decline, but a cycle of politics that is only permanent if we let it be.
Joel Pollak made some interesting observations about what the exit polls were showing during this past election:
Voters’ responses suggest that the American public agrees with conservative policies–but does not trust the Republican Party to implement them.
[...] Larry Solov, CEO and President of Breitbart News Network, said of the poll results:
“It appears the Republican Party has failed to convince voters it is a better vehicle for their conservative values and policy preferences. The problem is bigger than the challenge of winning elections. It requires a significant re-branding of the Republican Party for a new era.”
This election was the last chance to spare America the final degradation of ceasing to be a constitutional republic altogether. That battle has now been lost. The things most needed now are clarity and forthrightness. The danger most imminent now is that, having forsaken the principles of liberty, the nation will simply forget that those principles ever existed. Therefore, from now on, to whatever extent possible, every candidate running against the Democrats in any election must be the most unapologetic, relentless constitutional conservative available. He or she must call out the Democrat as a leftist, a socialist, an authoritarian, and every other simply accurate designation appropriate to the situation. And he or she must be intellectually prepared to prove that case against the Democrat, and to make the moral, constitutional case for individual freedom.
Will this kind of blunt, hard truth lead to victory? Not likely, or not in the short run. The danger, however, is that if the true identity of modern American leftism is swept under the rug in the name of the big lie of “electability” (another word I hope I never hear again), the popular optics will forever belong to the Democrats, who, after all, have actively created a society in their own image and will therefore always appear as the most natural position to their monstrous offspring.
The name of conservatism, and more importantly its proud truths, must never be allowed to slip from the public consciousness. They will do exactly that if the non-Democrat in future campaigns hides from this name and from these truths. [...]
The real alternative to leftist authoritarianism (to be labeled as such at every opportunity) must be presented often and with vigor. Politely asking to be forgiven for not being as exciting as one’s leftist opponent is the surest path to permanent serfdom. The only way out of this morass is to stand firm on principle and speak proudly of the superiority of one’s position. Over time, a new generation may rise up that will find this clear light more appealing than the dull gray of socialism.