I understand these women. Twenty years ago, when I was a young, single Democrat, I would have voted for Obama. For all my feminist bluster, I felt overwhelmed by the uncertainties of life. It didn’t take much to make me feel like a victim of circumstances. Promises of free health care and free college education strongly appealed to someone who was worried she might not be able to provide them for herself. I feared poverty and my heart ached for those trapped in it. My faith in government was misplaced, but my anxiety and concerns were legitimate.
Any effort to reach out to single women must begin with empathy for those feelings. Without listening and understanding, it is not possible to establish ethos as a speaker. Having established credibility, the speaker must use logic and emotion to demonstrate why government-led solutions have failed in the past and why reform is necessary. I wouldn’t have been convinced by complaints about how much poverty programs were costing taxpayers; but, accounts of how welfare dependency is leaving children without fathers and discouraging people from taking jobs that lead to better economic opportunities would have planted a seed of doubt in my mind.
Ultimately it was such stories that caused me to rethink my liberal positions and to leave the Democratic Party. Hard-hitting arguments with Republican friends did little to change my mind. Simple, quiet questions are what sent me on my journey from Left to Right.
As the Republican Party grapples with how to better communicate its principles and policies, the RNC recommendations are a good place to start. If we want to get out from behind the eight ball, we would do well to remember that in the art of persuasion, as in the game of billiards, finesse beats force every time.
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