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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

What the GOP Must Hear: ‘No Approach Always Works Everywhere.’



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Here’s why the post-election “what should Republicans do?” discussion has been so maddening…

Everyone has an opinion, and it’s not likely that there’s going to be a one-size-fits-all answer. There are races in the near future where a more Libertarian approach will benefit the GOP. There are going to be races where appearing to abandon the social conservative grassroots will amount to political suicide. There are going to be parts of the country where a populist tone is going to work (West Virginia) and there are going to be places where the GOP will win votes by emphasizing the free market (Silicon Valley). There will be races where the party will benefit from spotlighting younger and more diverse candidates. And there will be races where an old white male will be just fine, as long as he offers the public a reassuring and trusted voice on the issues they care about.

Of course, recommending, “we need a little of this, and a little of that, depending on circumstances” doesn’t make for a very dramatic message. And to be heard, you need drama. Our modern political scene is a giant crowd of people, with each individual simultaneously trying to stand out from the crowd.

So instead of “my preferred vision will work in some races and circumstances, and not others,” the view that stands out the most is, “The GOP must do X!” regardless of circumstances. RINO Pride! Embrace Libertarianism! Kick out the RINOs! Dump Karl Rove!

Embrace “a more secular and modernizing conservatism that eschews most social issues!” Embrace Christie!

What wins votes in one part of the country isn’t going to work in another part of the country, and the GOP ought to have sufficient ideological flexibility to get their candidates elected anywhere. Sure, there’s an issue of what the party stands for nationally in its presidential choice, but there’s a lot of road ahead before we seriously confront that issue. We don’t know who’s running yet, and we don’t know what the state of the country will be in 2016.


Tags: GOP


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