A few years ago a friend of mine decided that he would try to climb a particularly difficult rock climb in New York’s Catskill mountains. As he described it, he reached a point where he had to carefully balance between his life-long fear of heights and his desire to not be found in skeleton form against a rock a decade later. To add spice to the challenge, the move beyond that fear involved grabbing for some thorny shrubs that he knew could mess up his hands. Thus is the present predicament of the Republican Party in the shadow of the recent election results.
Clearly, Obama’s base (young, unmarried, non-religious, female, Latino, African-American, liberal, and labor) will largely stick with the Democratic Party moving forward. This is so because, no matter how the GOP should shift or mold itself to appease these groups, its efforts will be largely diluted by the strong bias against the GOP which these groups have long internalized, thanks to both the inconsistency of their own agendas with perceived GOP policy and the flame fanning of the mainstream media, which is so in the tank for the Democratic Party that it has become little more than that party’s propaganda wing. However, the GOP, if it is to secure The White House with any regularity again, must find a way to draw enough of the above base to succeed without betraying its present support.
Clearly, the GOP has drifted away from its conservative roots, as the liberal records of many Republicans, the GOP’s constant failure to uphold true conservative principles, and its alienation of and from the Tea Party show. However, Republicans must realize, sooner better than later, that continued erosion of its conservative base is just as destructive to its future than its present gradual evolution into a pathetic, diplomatically bland sibling of liberalism.
Clearly, the Democratic Party has grabbed hold of this society’s mantle of innovative acceptability. Democrats have become masters of jargon and societal marketability, knowing how to turn words, phrases, ideas and tags into weapons. Democrats use words as dynamic, multi-dimensional messages, both subliminal and direct. For example, realizing that many see liberalism as a negative, Democrats have shifted their label to progressivism, implying movement forward. By contrast, the GOP uses words, if at all, as static, one-dimensional, stagnant monikers which largely fail to convey the depth and potential of core conservative principles.
Clearly, the mainstream media, both news and entertainment, have become, as described above, pathetic geishas of liberalism. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish whether the media’s liberal bent taints society toward liberalism or whether society’s liberal preference taints the media toward liberalism so as to remain popular. Perhaps it works both ways. Either way, what is clear is that the GOP’s success will not be found in currying favor with the media. Whenever the GOP has sought media favor, it has only succeeded in selling out its principles and looking like a pitiful and desperate bunch. In the end, the GOP must broaden its appeal enough to stifle the media’s bias into less importance.
Clearly, the GOP must find a way to be assertive and aggressive without sinking to the nasty, negative, sarcastic, and patronizing arrogance so symbolic of the Democratic strategy of destroying the opponent as they used so effectively to paint Romney as an arrogant, uncaring enemy of the common person. Republicans must find a way to be direct without being dirty. For example, they should have highlighted the Benghazi and Sandy situations more effectively, identifying the hypocrisy of the media’s coverage of both events in the light of Watergate and Katrina, as Rush Limbaugh and Rudy Giuliani so effectively did.
Various breakdowns of the political spectrum show that 21% of Americans call themselves liberal and 41% call themselves conservative, with a whopping 36% calling themselves moderates. Clearly, the 36% self-professed moderates are really 28% who are liberal but call themselves moderate and 8% who are conservative but call themselves moderate, in order to imply that they are open-minded. The GOP must find a way to split that 36% in half, thus taking advantage of its basic bridge to conservativism.
Given the state of affairs described above, the GOP’s present dilemma is not unlike my friend’s rock climbing dilemma. It must figure out a way to enhance its support from enough of the Democratic base groups mentioned above to win without alienating enough of its current base groups to lose. It must figure out how to sell out less while appealing more. It must demonstrate more humanity while providing less appeasement.
Simply put, the current GOP must face the reality that it is presently swimming in a society increasingly nursed on entitlement, raised on rationalization and moral immunity, and brainwashed in re-distribution and victimization. It must not sell how it is similar to the Democratic Party but, rather, how it can be so much more to so many more with so much less government than Democrats are ever allowed to be.
Learning strategic social and political diplomacy and marketing without betraying or surrendering its present support. Recognizing, accepting, embracing, and effectively re-packaging its core conservative roots for greater appeal without neglecting or denying them. Reaching for the thorns to overcome a fear of falling and reach a desire goal. Sometimes, political necessity can indeed be the motivation for innovation, especially when losing major battles you should win begins to get old.