Republicans in the United States just damaged their chances of winning elections in 2014, while trying to increase their chances. That is what is wrong with the Republican Party: A total failure to properly diagnose or understand the Party’s circumstances cripples it. What Ronald Reagan saw so clearly, Republican insiders cannot grasp.
Obama lied. He broke his promises about ObamaCare. Broken faith is melting the Democrats’ hopes of winning elections in 2014. Obama cannot smooth-talk voters back who no longer trust him and are no longer listening.
Therefore, Republicans had to save the Democrats and throw away the GOP’s advantage for 2014. Republicans broke their own promise to the voters – also a core promise – to reduce spending and get the deficit under control. Now voters can feel equally betrayed by both Republicans and Democrats. Now there is no need to favor Republicans over Democrats in 2014, because both parties broke bedrock campaign promises.
Here’s the problem: Campaigns are not won on election day. They are won during the entire year leading up to election day, by the mostly-conservative grassroots activists who help raise money, organize, pound yard signs along the highway, make phone calls, set up meet-and-greets and coffees, and other events.
Candidates do not win or lose elections. Republican insiders do not win or lose elections. Campaign consultants do not win or lose elections. Thousands of unpaid volunteers win the campaign for the candidate, especially on the Republican side. Those volunteers vote with their feet and decide anew each and every Saturday morning whether to stay home or get out there and campaign for the candidate. Every unpaid volunteer faces the temptation to just stay home instead of leaving the house and getting in the car.
The candidate whom the volunteers elect gets paid the salary, gets the glory, and puts the “win” on his or her resume. The volunteers get nothing. The volunteers have only the hope that the candidate they put in office will vote as promised to turn the country around. They get no reward for their time and trouble when a politician breaks his campaign promises.
Republican insiders completely ignore the ingredient of motivating Republican volunteers who actually win elections. All leaders must understand the importance of morale and motivation in achieving success. Somehow Republican leaders have never heard of this. A motivated army can win over great odds. A discouraged army cannot beat even a smaller opposing force. In sports, war, and politics, the more motivated team usually wins.
On December 10, Republicans announced a deal with Democrats to abandon the hard-won spending cuts enforced by the “sequester” from the Budget Control Act of 2011. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, House Budget Committee Chairman, appeared with Democrat Senator Patty Murray, the Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman.
With the sequester broken, there is no enforceable restraint on deficit spending in future years. Spending will increase $45 billion higher in 2014 and $63 billion over the next two years. But most of all, the restraint against future spending increases is gone. Republicans will not be able to re-impose the deficit reduction discipline hard-won in the 2011 Budget Control Act sequester. The sequester required enormous work and political capital.
So if the Republicans win next year we will fly off the cliff at 80 miles per hour. If the Democrats win we will fly off the cliff at 100 miles per hour. Neither party is willing to avoid driving off the cliff. GOP leaders have destroyed any motivation for unpaid campaign volunteers to get up on Saturday morning and do unpaid work for Republicans who lied to them. Worst of all, anything Republicans say to try to fix the situation will be viewed with skepticism.
Conventional wisdom endlessly repeats that there is a clash between fiscal conservatives and social conservatives. Wrong. In fact, the GOP’s problems come from fiscal conservatives who spend money like drunken sailors and constantly grow the government. Social issues are not the problem. The problem is that GOP fiscal conservatives vote like fiscal liberals.
As Marc Thiessen of the low-key American Enterprise Institute explained on December 16, in the Washington Post, “House Republicans agreed to a deal that would reverse the automatic cuts in the Budget Control Act … [W]e’re raising spending, raising revenue and growing government. How is that conservative?” Worse: “Half of the replacement cuts are scheduled to occur in 2022 and 2023, after the Budget Control Act expires. So we are trading certain cuts today for uncertain cuts a decade from now.”
Republican leaders argue that the Ryan-Murray deal allows Republicans to “put the budget behind them” so that “we can get on to other issues.” What other issues? If Republicans don’t get the nation’s finances in order, what else matters?
Of course, the next issue that Republican insiders want to hurry and turn their attention to is granting amnesty to illegal aliens. That will infuriate the conservative base into open revolt, possibly costing Republicans the 2014 elections.
What keeps the Republican Party in the minority is the widespread perception that “there’s not a dimes’ worth of difference between the Republicans and the Democrats.” That gives people the excuse to do nothing, which they were already inclined to anyway.
Now you don’t believe that, dear reader. In fact it probably upsets you. But your opinion won’t change anything. Millions of people in the grassroots will sit out the election in protest no matter what you think. And those who don’t show up will decide the future of our county.
There is already a natural tendency toward apathy. Let’s see: A typical voter could (a) go fishing with his daughter, or (b) spend Saturday knocking on doors for a Republican candidate who lies to him and breaks his campaign promises and who will insult his conservative beliefs if elected. Tough decision. Spending time with your family suddenly sounds like a better choice than making phone calls, pounding yard signs beside the road, knocking on doors, or helping organize campaign events.
Angering the conservative base is what cost the GOP the Congress in 2006 and 2008. Republican insiders are forever sacrificing conservatives trying to please the editorial pages of the Washington Post and New York Times and hoping to win moderates and independents voters with stupid strategies. The GOP is like a guy who ignores a woman he has a relationship with to chase after cheerleaders he can’t have.
Morale is vital in war, sports, and politics. Once you demoralize the troops, winning becomes very difficult. The GOP has lost many important elections over the last decade or so – not because of the tea party or conservatives – but because of attacks by the Republican establishment on conservatives in the party. When Republican leaders attack the grassroots, they are surprised when those grassroots activists decide to stay home instead of campaigning.
Jonathon Moseley is a Virginia business and criminal defense attorney. Moseley is also a co-host with the ?Conservative Commandos? radio show, and an active member of the Northern Virginia Tea Party. He studied Physics at Hampshire College, Finance at the University of Florida and law at George Mason University in Virginia. Moseley promoted Reagan?s policies at High Frontier and the Center for Peace in Freedom. He worked at the U.S. Department of Education, including at the Center for Choice in Education.
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