Making the Republican Party Worthy of Its Success
Republicans need to learn to govern in a good economy. We work hard, every time we’re in power, to improve our economic fortunes; but once we do, we always forget that this is not some edge of the world of Republican capacity. We won’t fall off the edge after we get the economy going.
Currently, Americans are primarily concerned with poor leadership and a lack of faith in government (Gallup). They are concerned about immigration, American culture, and healthcare.
So my question is, what are Republicans doing to restore faith in government, to restore integrity to our immigration system, to promote a positive vision for American culture, and what, if anything, are we promoting as a healthcare policy these days?
Why don’t Republicans have specific, widely respected and accepted messaging on these four other serious concerns of the American people? Republicans swooped in and saved our economy. Sure, we’ll have our ups and downs and the markets will bubble and correct, but I think most Americans trust Republicans when it comes to getting America back to the business of doing business.
But when business is good, do Republicans become pointless? When the economy is thriving, must we turn to Democrats to address all our other concerns?
In October, Americans indicated that they had more confidence in the federal government than they had in decades. In November, they overwhelmingly elected Democrats. Why?
In truth, I think it is because Republicans have the worst bedside manner of all our political institutions in America. We come off angry, indignant, and intolerant in the face of success and prosperity. We’re like a basketball team of superstars that gets in fist fights after a big win. We’re like an elite athlete who, after “making it,” proceeds to get in trouble with the law and, worse, Twitter.
We tolerate some pretty awful people in our party. Hell, in Virginia we nominated Corey Stewart. We went through Charlottesville without finding it in our hearts to oppose White Nationalism in clear, undeniably stark terms.
If Republicans want to govern the prosperity their policies create, then they are going to need to have a plan. They need to continue to react to the other concerns of the American people; and let’s be honest – after rescuing the economy, did Republicans have an agenda?
I’m a Republican and I honestly don’t know what we’re doing. We have the highest revenues in history and yet we’re accumulating historic debt. We have the strongest position in the world to negotiate every international arrangement, and yet we’re still finding new ways to annoy our allies.
I want to talk moderates and independents into voting Republican, but they are so frustrated with our public relations nightmares that they are quite literally willing to destroy this economy with Democrats in order to pressure Republicans into, oh I don’t know, behaving like decent people.
Republicans need a comprehensive immigration plan that can draw 20 percent Democratic support. They need a healthcare plan that appeals to the center right and left. They need to instill basic trust in American government. They need to bring people together.
It sometimes feels like we are the permanent opposition party. Even when we’re in power, we’re still fighting against “the system” we’re responsible for. That is not the way to inspire confidence with the American people.
If you are tired of these blue waves, then you need to embrace a couple of core principles. First, we need to recruit and run the most experienced, qualified candidates we can find. It’s got to be about merit, not ideology. We’re a political party that adores meritocracy, except when nominating politicians to represent us. Second, we need to run on experience, on success, and quality public policy. Third, we need to stop fighting the government when we’re running it.
There is a reason my beloved libertarian friends cannot win elections. We attack the very institutions the American people are participating in. We appear futile and a bit annoying. Republicans need to stop making the same mistakes. They need to become a party that can thrive when they are in power and make use of every ounce of success they produce economically and politically.
The Republican Party of Virginia needs to become a very dry, very efficient, and very professional thing. We need to petition the votes of our fellow citizens on the basis of the quality of our candidates, ideas, and policies. Let’s be better at government than they are. Let’s just be better at it. Let’s capture the narratives, propose the solutions, activate our activists to pressure the elected, and baby-step our way toward better local, state, and federal government.
Who cares about ideology when the majority of Americans are worried that the government creating the policy can’t be trusted? Let’s garner trust. Let’s build support. Let’s move the ball down the field instead of kicking the can down the road.
If we can do this, we can win, anywhere and everywhere. It’s as simple as that.