Yes, you read that right. The Republican Party is FINALLY taking the fight to the streets and going to the mattresses the same way the Democrats did decades ago. The idea is to win national elections by going local. And to do that, the GOP needs a few good losers.
The strategy goes like this: recruit candidates for EVERY district, in every race, even in the big cities where there is no way a Republican can win. Especially in the big cities where victory is not on the table, but picking up voters is. These people who are recruited and know they will lose, then go door to door spreading the Republican message on local issues (fighting corruption, managing complex transportation projects effectively, paring back regulations and encouraging charter schools and other alternatives to existing public schools SOURCE: Reuters) with the added advantage that since the big cities have all been run by Democrats for the last fifty years, Republicans cannot really be held culpable for their condition. At a national level, the candidates can discuss criminal justice, military and national security topics. This spreads the message of where Republicans stand on security and economic issues, or the every day topics non-Republicans care about. Gay marriage, legal marijuana and abortion are better off discussed with actual conservatives that the recruits. In addition, the candidates themselves achieve some name recognition, make the contacts for campaign infrastructure and gain experience that will be valuable if the person decides to run for office at a later date. The idea is to lose “gracefully.”
For a lot of people on the political right, this strategy may sound quite unpalatable. First, there really is no way to win these races, and for the more frugal among us it would seem like a waste of money. Second, it compromises on social issues that can dominate the rhetoric from many evangelicals, and that are vital, but no one on the other side of the aisle wants to discuss. Third, getting people to switch sides may not be enough to overcome voting machine software “glitches” in some precincts and states. But, as Noah Rothman from HotAir puts it, the GOP is finally playing the long game.
The GOP is building up the farm team by recruiting a stable of sacrificial lambs. Though they will be led to the slaughter in 2016, they might help win the White House for Republicans. What’s more, these kamikaze candidates will earn the gratitude of the party when they again run for office as a campaign veteran.
This is the way the Democratic machine has worked for decades. Politicians start small and work their way up, going out and shaking hands, making a name for themselves and getting their siren’s call to the masses. It’s the same sort of thing Lindsey Graham does to maintain his seat in the U.S. Senate. To win, the party has to make it personal, and appeal to what every American understands: the pocketbook and safety.
Given the image and brand damage done to the Republican Party in any number of ways from any number of quarters, this is not going to be an easy time or a job for the thin skinned, but laying the groundwork for the future. It’s the long game. It’s how the Democrats have managed to stay in power while destroying everything America is and represents for decade after decade.
For a case study in how a Republican can get elected to higher office in a blue state by caring about the big city, read about Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s journey in the New York Post.