When Reagan ran as an incumbent, his campaign ran a commercial titled "Morning in America." It highlighted that after three years of Reagan's leadership, our country was "prouder and stronger and better."
It worked because the voters knew that it was true in their own lives.
Their lives were stronger and better.
While Obama runs on a "Forward" campaign, American voters are going to be asking questions: Am I better off than I was three years ago? Do I have confidence in this president? If he is re-elected, do I believe that in four years I will be better off?
This year's Republican presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney is running with the current tagline "Restore American's Greatness." While looking backward to a great past might provide a rallying point for core conservatives, the focus on the past rather than looking forward to a brighter future might leave many in the political middle uninspired.
Romney's campaign might want to refocus the campaign on two fronts. The first, on a clear and repetitive description of the Obama administration record (to be done by everyone but Romney); the second, on a clear vision of a positive future that will inspire people to not only vote, but to work for the Romney campaign.
The clearer, more simple and more direct the vision, the faster people will connect and embrace it.
Reagan was effective because his words reflected who he was. His foundation had been formed over a long period of time, and he focused not on changing his core belief system, but on communicating his vision for a brighter future to those around him.
Comfortable in his own skin, he provided the calm reassurance that America is great, that the people are resilient and that we simply had to have as much faith in ourselves as he did.
Like Reagan, we must have the courage to speak out against evil, and use our words to support and encourage freedom and liberty.