Candidate Mitt Romney projected maturity, decency, personal rectitude, leadership, and greater real intelligence than anyone who has run for the presidency in living memory. He’s a stand-up guy, and a problem solver. Our next candidate needs all that plus the ability to communicate more effectively with middle-class voters, working-class men, and single women, all of whom are struggling in this economy and culture.
A winning candidate will show middle-class voters gut-level, emotional concern about the insecurity that they face for themselves and their kids, and policies to fix things. Rhetoric explaining the virtues of small government, and constitutional limits, needs to be wrapped in empathy, and offered alongside stories, arguments, and step by step depictions of how he will foster upward mobility, access to useful education, and the creation of solid jobs with benefits. The candidate needs to hit back hard when the other side depicts him as elite, out of touch, and uncaring. Hard. And personally. Show anger. Americans like emotion more than we like to think. Dignity requires that he or she use credible, (non-Trump) allies to make the toughest attacks, when the media doesn’t do its job.
Since mainstream media won’t report honestly, useful support from conservative billionaire contributors would include buying a few prestige media outlets, and stocking them with right-of-center journalists. Fox needs to attract women viewers.
The GOP should target working men in the dying industrial Midwest, who have taken huge hits in income, security, and the ability to care for their families. They want to work. Since we will be supporting their incomes one way or another, better to bolster strategically targeted industries and workers, than to provide welfare, more EITC, disability, and unemployment to the same men. It is shameful to lose the “bitter clinger” vote.
Deflect questions about whether you will raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires, which are the economic corollary of talking about abortion following rape. You can’t win.
Speaking of abortion — GOP candidates must comprehend why Obama was able to scare single women — who are now the majority of women — into voting on the (non)issues of abortion and contraception: Traditional marriage and family life is disappearing as an option for poor, working class, and non-college educated women, while educated women need serious careers to maintain their economic status. Our culture encourages women to be sexually active early, without commitment from a man. It’s hard to support yourself and a baby and keep on working steadily. So single women are sane to be obsessed with controlling their reproductive life. Abortion both allows and symbolizes this control. You don’t have to like it, or think it’s moral. But you need to understand why it’s so easy to scare women. This won’t change without a cultural earthquake.