The 2014 Midterms are just a few months away and Republicans are looking pretty solid for this November. This year doesn’t have a national candidate representing the whole party like Presidential election years. It seems like national campaigns have hampered the GOP recently (see 2008 and 2012). Perfecting a national platform is an absolute essential for a GOP victory in 2016. Republicans have already made up precious ground in grassroots campaigning (see FL13).
In order to perfect their national platform, the GOP has to be united and has to have answers for some key questions. It’s not impossible, the Republican Revolution in 1994 did just that. But with their recent history of playing it safe and party infighting, it’ll be an uphill battle. So here are some questions that need answers:
1. What is the GOP’s solution for Obamacare?
The Affordable Care Act has gone terribly wrong. Vulnerable Democrats are running as far as they can from it and it’s namesake. That should be enough for a good Election Day this November, but it won’t be enough in 2 years. They need a viable solution to the problem. Campaigning on repeal is okay, but they have to stress the replace part even more. The GOP needs a replacement healthcare plan. Americans know that the ACA is not good for them, but the longer it sticks around, the more difficult it will be to get rid of.
There are a few doctors in the field who might be able to help relay that point (even if not on the ticket): Bobby Jindal, Rand Paul, & Ben Carson
2. How can the GOP reach the LGBTQ community?
Courts are continually striking down voter-passed state marriage laws. It’s becoming more and more tough to be the party against same-sex marriage. Stats don’t lie, children appear to do better when they have a married mom and dad. But that’s not enough anymore. Anytime Republicans mention the words traditional marriage, even without talking about same-sex marriage, they are labeled as homophobic and closed-minded. Part of the blame can be placed on certain candidates who have had solid beliefs but stupid soundbites. The train is speeding down the tracks and it seems to be passing parts of the GOP aside.
Believe it or not, the GOP does have an LGBTQ following and thanks to the likes of the Dr.’s Paul, a civil liberties following as well. Civil unions haven’t gained any traction in the GOP ranks. Perhaps the answer is as simple as to not talk about it and don’t make any stumbling soundbites. Don’t make it nor let it become an issue in 2016. This is tough from every aspect.
3. How can the GOP court Hispanics without supporting amnesty?
Everyone knows the changing demographics. It’s not a bad thing, we are a country of immigrants and the American Dream. But exit polls show that ever since W, Hispanics are supporting Dems by large margins. That’s a gap that has to be narrowed.
I believe the GOP is actually a better fit for Hispanics than the Democrats. Hispanics are hardworking and generally deeply religious, two traits that strongly reflect the values of the GOP. Republicans need to highlight the dangers that liberalism has on the American Dream and upward mobility. They need to speak boldly to the fact that open borders will create the same environment that caused many immigrants to leave their country in the first place (i.e. lack of jobs, less security, poor healthcare options). Those arguments have to overshadow the Democrats call for amnesty and open borders. If presented properly, the Democrats can actually be the ones who look ignorant and closed-minded.
Republicans actually have plenty of people capable of making this case in 2016: Susanna Martinez, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, & Jeb Bush
4. How can the GOP bridge the electoral gap with African Americans?
Well for starters President Obama won’t be on the ballot, that’s already a positive here. Once again we can thank Rand Paul for inroads here. Pushing reduced penalties for nonviolent drug offenses is a message that slowly seems to be taking hold. Being the leader on Economic Freedom Zones in urban areas is another way the GOP can show how upward mobility is supported by free markets. A big problem is entitlement reform. It has to be done, but how can it be done without losing huge chunks of that electorate? Democrats have wisely created a huge portion of the electorate who are dependent on them for money to live off of. Without being demeaning, Republicans need to trot out example after example after example of people who have lifted themselves out of poverty and are willing to preach against a life lived on government dependency. Hard work pays off, they need to hammer that message.
It also wouldn’t hurt to correct a few misconceptions. After all, it was on the backs of Senate Republicans that the Civil Rights Bill passed Congress. The Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves was issued by a Republican President, Abraham Lincoln. Clarence Thomas (the first African American Supreme Court Justice), Colon Powell (the first African American Secretary of State), and Condi Rice (the first female NSA Adviser and first female African American Sec. of State) were all nominated by Republican Presidents.
Republicans aren’t as far behind as you’d think. They’ve had pretty great African American elected officials and candidate over the past few year. Tim Scott, Ben Carson, and Mia Love are superstars. If Herman Cain hadn’t been sidelined with unproven affair rumors, who know how far he could’ve gone in 2012.
5. How can Republicans stop the “War on Women”?
Democrats have made a living on using the GOP’s “War on Women”. In order to bridge the single women voter gap, Republicans need to continue to fight this claim. Senator Rand Paul has begun vigorously calling out those who talk about the Republican “War on Women” and then accepting support from President Bill Clinton. It seems like this strategy has been somewhat effective as well as covered by most major media outlets. Another answer is to show the inequality in treatment that conservative woman get compared to liberal women. Invalidate the “War on Women” tag by showing how liberals and the media lied about and trashed Gov. Palin, Rep. Bachmann, Mia Love (among others) and their families based on the fact that they just didn’t like them.
The GOP has a very long list of very successful politicians, candidates, and supporters. Successful governors like Jan Brewer, Susanna Martinez, Nikki Haley, Mary Fallin, and Sarah Palin are the biggest cryptonite for Democrats who try to use gender against Republicans. These women have accomplished great things even with every liberal rooting against them.
Those are the five important questions I believe the GOP needs to answer for 2016. Please let me know your thoughts.
Another CPAC has come and gone. Off year election primaries for the GOP are blooming brighter than the azaleas on hole 13 in Augusta. It’s time to start evaluating our contenders for the title of Republican nominee for President of the United States. Every corner of the GOP base (tea partiers, establishments, conservatives, moderates, evangelicals, libertarians, etc.) is in full swing trying out their potential candidates. Here’s our first edition of the 2016 GOP Power Rankings:
1. Rand Paul – Paul takes over the top spot after Christie’s “Bridgegate” scandal. He dominated the CPAC straw poll (although it’s a poor indicator of future nominees, it does speak to his ability to gain enthusiastic supporters). For now, he’s balancing the Libertarian Republican and Establishment Republican fine line very well (don’t forget, he endorsed fellow Kentuckian McConnell). He’s preaching party unity and growth, and it’s being well received.
2. Chris Christie – Christie has lost some of his shine because of Bridgegate, but there’s still lots of time to regain it. He made great strides to woo back conservatives at CPAC. Never count him out.
3. Scott Walker – Walker missed CPAC because of business back home. I don’t think it hurts him as much as it would have for others. He’s pretty much a household name among Republicans. It would’ve been nice to hear him speak to a national crowd, but for now we’ll let his record speak for itself (which is impressive in blue Wisconsin).
4. Ted Cruz – There’s no denying his star power among conservatives is growing stronger, but he’ll need the approval of at least part of the establishment GOP crowd. I just don’t know if he can get that. He seems to be getting an unbalanced amount of criticism from the media as well as Republicans that Rand Paul has been able to for the most part avoid.
5. Jeb Bush – You might think it’s crazy to see his name in the top 5, but his popularity in FL, with Hispanics, and among establishment GOP types makes him a very formidable candidate. He missed CPAC because of a scheduling conflict. I think he could’ve helped his case by being there.
6. Marco Rubio – Rubio is slowly rebuilding his image after the immigration battle problem.
7. Rick Perry – Perry also had a beneficial appearance at CPAC that seems to have resurrected his chances after a poor showing in 2012.
8. Rick Santorum – Santorum’s candidacy is interesting. He is popular with Evangelical conservatives, but he’s also considered a “big government” Republican. He couldn’t gain much traction with party elites in 2012 and who can forget how badly he lost his last re-election race as Senator of PA. Yet you have to credit his staying power.
9. Mike Huckabee – Huckabee is Santorum minus the big government feel, plus executive experience. He’s the one guy that could shake up the race the most if he announced to run. I’m not sure that he will, so for now, he stays behind Santorum.
10. Paul Ryan – maybe more likely the next Speaker of the House?
11. Bobby Jindal – Jindal would be a great candidate, but can he inspire?
12. Ben Carson – His speech and reception at CPAC gave legitimacy to his national rise. Race aside, he could be this round’s Herman Cain, the guy with no previous political experience and a law degree instead of a business one (minus the accusations of affairs). I think he could do much better than Cain did.
13. Susanna Martinez – You have to like her chances of being the VP pick. Smart, female, Hispanic, GOP Governor of a purple state. She was one of only a select crowd that was allowed to campaign for Christie.
14. Sarah Palin – There are so many places to take this one. She’s the total package for some Republicans, but many are too scared that her image has been too damaged by the media (unfairly, unprofessionally, and biased) for her to be taken serious enough anymore. Would she dare take on her own party again in Alaska and fight Murkowski in2016 for a Senate seat?
Please leave me your thoughts and comments. Also, I’m starting a panel to vote on the power rankings each month for this blog. Let me know if you’d like to be considered.