With Governor Christie’s splash in the pool, the population pining to be POTUS is now large enough to hold a special Republican Primary: only the declared wannabes would participate, each egotist getting three votes. Naturally, we’d eliminate all their first choices and zero in on the next two, thereby distilling a much tighter cluster of potential electables.
Seriously, we now have a candidate for almost every splinter view imaginable, and good people though each of them are, they collectively exemplify a party in confusion and dysfunction. As one wag pointed out, the last time there were this many declared candidates, a major party produced Jimmy Carter. To the nation, this gaggle of diverse leaders is proof positive of such a gamble: they seem not to be able to agree on who and how to govern, as each fears the Conservative Inquisition if they depart from the rigid testament of a relative few. That the GOP will produce an electable candidate in this cycle is becoming chancy at best.
Whether the rest of us live in fly-over country or in the four or five battleground states to matter in 2016, there are a few things on the GOP Must Do List my politically disparate group of acquaintances seems to agree on:
- Coalesce in the nearer term, and firmly unite behind an electable philosophy. Then, choose a brilliant, likable campaigner with broad appeal. Right now, however, the core right needs to welcome groups who agree with them 75% of the time.
- Without a full court public embrace of Latino and African-American like-minded voters, winning in 2016 and beyond is impossible. In each group, there are substantial numbers who share similar views on respect for life issues, aspire to middle class standards and values, and believe in American exceptionalism, but missteps about matters like artifacts of the confederacy, use of racist code words, and ethnic denigration are damning. Without success with diverse groups, states like Texas, once thought an indelible red, will turn a permanent, cerulean hue.
- If before the summer of 2016, elected Republicans do not present firm outlines for better approaches to Obamacare and immigration—without caterwauling from the diehards—give it up. Let me restate that, GOPers: No game, your shame. Noisy opposition is one thing; no reasonable alternatives—widely publicized—border on the politically criminal.
- Embrace with a smile the recent SCOTUS decisions overturning your worldview. Hard? Perhaps. Necessary? Absolutely. Enough people have benefitted from Obamacare that to continue to talk repeal only scares them and makes the GOP appear both churlish and mean. And most Americans know someone they like who is gay—a relative, friend, or co-worker. Parsing the biblical and anthropological definition of marriage is one thing; alienating a highly influential, sympathetic group—many of whom are conservative—is plain foolish.
- Ensure that people understand the relationship between unmanaged immigration with insecure borders and the stagnant state of low and middle-range wages: unregulated, cheap labor depresses wages at the entry, supervisory, and junior management levels. It’s that simple. Seal all the borders and create a path for those in-country (deporting, of course, all illegals who are also felons). Tweak the minimum wage, yes; wreck the job market, no.
- Agree to modest tax increases for the fabled one percenters just to take that card off the table—for good. Use the proceeds for infrastructure improvements Americans appreciate.
And who are my acquaintances? They are Christians, Jews, Muslims, and atheists who vote. They are indies, left and right of center types—but not edge huggers—and we may not agree 100% on all of the above, but we know we don’t have to. With whatever scorn the hard-core right chooses, they can call us moderates, RINOs, or rudderless weaklings for that matter, but if the GOP can connect the political dots above, everyone will also call us winners.