Open Letter to Republican Strategists

matthew's picture

I just read an Open Letter to Republican Strategists, and gotta say I can't agree more. I'm not quite as affluent as this guy, nor do we align on every issue. Nevertheless, I'm a bread-and-butter type of voter for the Republican Party -- my party, by the way -- but I handed in my vote that helped hand the Democrats the election.

Our party needs to get out of the business of being up in everybody else's business, and focus on a core message that actually resonates with my kind of voter:

  • Fiscal conservatism in deed, not just in name as it has been for my entire lifetime.
  • Be pro-science. The current Republican anti-science stance is repugnant. Arguing over the benefits and disadvantages of cap-and-trade proposals is just fine. Arguing over the existence of settled conclusions in climate science, rape-induced pregnancy, evolution, and physics just makes you look like "the party of the stupid".
  • Be in favor of fixing health care. Being squarely anti-ACA is inimical to this goal; enhance, improve, and adjust the legislation. Your promise to "repeal ObamaCare" on Day 1 in office is a big part of what led to your defeat. Give productive suggestions, instead of a promise to tear down necessary improvements to US health infrastructure.

There is more, but that would be a good start. Instead of deciding to double-down again on an extremist form of anti-American fascism, why not entertain the notion of finding out what a winning constituency actually wants?

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matthew's picture

Additional thoughts

I had some additional thoughts on this today.

Right now, I'm reading Dennis Prager's "Still The Best Hope". I believe his philosophy encapsulates the basic thinking of the Far Right admirably. Prager contrasts what he calls "Americanism" (economic conservatism, imperialism, and religion) with "Leftism" (economic liberalism, peace activism, and atheism).

I think this kind of "us vs. them" mentality is at the heart of why the article linked above is so repugnant to those on the Right. When George W. Bush said "If you aren't with us, you're against us," he was not just stating his thoughts as President supervising multiple wars in the Middle East. He was appealing to his base, which feels very much the same way.

The Far Left has very much the same "if you're not with us, you're against us" mentality, by the way. It's not exclusive to the Far Right! But if you look at the ideological makeup and voting blocs of the House of Representatives right now, you'll see that on the Republican side, the Centrist faction has been completely eliminated. There is not a single Republican in the House who is not Right or Far Right. I think this change is not pure politicking on the part of my party. I think it represents a fundamental -- or, one might say, fundamentalist -- shift in the voting base.

This shift encapsulates a rejection of Centrism that we haven't seen in politics since William Howard Taft at the start of the 20th century. And the shift is part of what convinces me that we are due another very large "double dip" into recession/depression territory within the next 10-20 years. The dominant economic ideology of the Right creates greater volatility in the market. It's a design feature of laissez-faire free-market capitalism: higher highs, lower lows, but on the whole greater growth than under the "managed capitalism" model that has been dominant since the 1930s.

The problem with such a model is that it depends upon a percentage the poor dying off during economic lows. That was the model in place for most of the 19th century in the USA. That's not a price I'm willing for my country to pay.

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Matthew P. Barnson