Pethokoukis, Society and Culture, Economics, U.S. Economy

GOP learns you can’t win elections with just debt doomsday preppers

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When you have inflation at 2%, interest rates near 0%, but unemployment close to 8%, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the national debt isn’t a top priority of voters. As this new survey from McLaughlin & Associates shows, the “economy and jobs” leads the field with health care right behind.

Another way to look at these numbers is through the “cost of living” lens. Health care, education, and gas prices are the first or second choice of 76% of respondents under 40, many of whom are young parents or soon-to-be parents. The GOP might do well with an economic agenda geared toward that demographic.

Now the Republican National Committee is out with its big-think white paper on the party’s future. The study mentions education as one way of connecting with younger voters. And here are some broader points:

1. The Grand Old Party should be synonymous with the name “Growth and Opportunity Party.”  … 4. The perception that the GOP does not care about people is doing great harm to the Party and its candidates on the federal level, especially in presidential years. It is a major deficiency that must be addressed.  … 5. We need to do a better job connecting people to our policies. Our ideas can sound distant and removed from people’s lives. Instead of connecting with voters’ concerns, we too often sound like bookkeepers.  … 6. The Republican Party must be the champion of those who seek to climb the economic ladder of life. Low-income Americans are hard-working people who want to become hard-working middle-income Americans. Middle-income Americans want to become upper-middle-income, and so on. We need to help everyone make it in America. … 7. We have to blow the whistle at corporate malfeasance and attack corporate welfare. We should speak out when a company liquidates itself and its executives receive bonuses but rank-and-file workers are left unemployed. We should speak out when CEOs receive tens of millions of dollars in retirement packages but middle-class workers have not had a meaningful raise in years.

Shorter: Numbers are important, but the party needs to tell compelling stories — like how education reform is about helping kids not smashing unions — built around a new agenda of improving education, increasing social mobility, lowering the cost of living, and fighting crony capitalism. A push for faster economic growth (and an entrepreneurial agenda) is a necessary element here, but not sufficient. A lot of room for conservative policy entrepreneurs.

12 thoughts on “GOP learns you can’t win elections with just debt doomsday preppers

  1. ” but the party needs to tell compelling stories”

    wrong. wrong. wrong.

    The GOP needs to produce results or they need to convince those who are unemployed and on unemployment that the GOP cares enough about them to develop solutions that result in jobs rather than lecturing them as “takers”.

    I know this is a revolutionary concept but most people want jobs – not “benefits”. Yes.. there will always be some that prefer the free stuff but there’s another large group that likes to idea of earning their compensation.

    the last thing in the world the GOP needs is a ‘compelling story”. They need compelling policies – ones they promote in front of the election – not ones where they say “elect us” and then we’ll do something.

    • Gee, I’m so glad a man of good faith like Larry is looking out for the GOP….

      “The GOP needs to produce results or they need to convince those who are unemployed and on unemployment that the GOP cares enough about them..”

      Somehow, according to exit polls, Obama managed the latter while completely failing at the former.

      “Yes.. there will always be some that prefer the free stuff but there’s another large group that likes to idea of earning their compensation.”

      But there’s enough of the “free stuff” crowd to tip the balance to the Democrats. That crowd is only growing. There’s also a large group who are susceptible the Democrat lowest common denominator talking points that successful people obtain their wealth at the expense of the “little guy.” Obama the community organizer sings that song like he’s Pavarotti.

      “They need compelling policies – ones they promote in front of the election – not ones where they say “elect us” and then we’ll do something.”

      Unlike, say, Obama who merely promised more of the same misery he inflicted for the past 4 yrs. It didn’t really matter because enough of the demographic is disconnected from the real economy. There’s also the contingent who are ignorant and just vote for whomever Matt Damon tells them is the cool guy.

      The liberal agenda has been a multi-decade project to import poverty and get as many people hooked on government handouts as possible. No use trying to deny it has succeeded.

      The best thing anyone in the productive class can do is focus on their own tight-knit circle and figure out how to survive the coming collapse. The clueless Obama herd will be thinned out by what’s coming. Perhaps then we can rebuild. But 2016 is a fait accompli. No use getting geared up for Rubio, Paul, Christie, etc.

      • Paul – the GOP is in deep doo doo boy… and you know it.

        the name of the game in the USA is that if you want to led – you have to get elected. If you want to get elected – you have to convince people you will work in their behalf.

        simple proposition. The GOP doesn’t want to play that game any more.

        right?

        • “If you want to get elected – you have to convince people you will work in their behalf.”

          “Work on their behalf” meaning robbing some other guy who earned his money and giving it to to people who didn’t.

          No thanks.

          • if you want to govern, you have to win the election. If you want to win the election, you have to get more votes.

            simple thing Paul.

      • I make six figures, I work 50 hours a week minimum and I voted Democrat. Most people in my peer and income group who I know did the same.

        Go on telling yourselves only welfare queens vote Democrat. Its the surest way to ensure you will win no more elections.

  2. What bone-headed nonsense!

    1) In the average voter’s mind, improving the “economy” is synonymous with fixing America’s debt crisis.

    2) If a question were posed like, “Do you favor stopping printing money so that your paycheck isn’t worth less every time it’s issued,” everyone would say yes.

    3) In fact, a plurality of voters ranked rising prices as their top political concern: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/interactive/2012/10/10/fox-news-poll-race-shifts-toward-romney-after-debate/

    4) Ironically you acknowledge that Americans are concerned about the rising cost of living, yet you fail to acknowledge how your policy prescriptions are creating the very problem that most concerns Americans.

  3. Facts are hard things for a party to come to grips with.The nation has shifted to the left and conservatives are having a hard time accepting it.Much like the Democratic Party being caught off guard by the conservative revolution of the eighties,the Republicans are now in the opposite position.Clinton showed the Democratic Party the way to the promise land.Unfortunately for conservatives they have no politician as of yet with Bill Clinton’s vision talent and ability to look an American in the eye and say”I feel your pain” and make the person feel it with sincerity.

    • actually I think Conservatives have shifted to the right. There are dozens of GOP that have been invited to leave because they are said to be RINOs.

      There are few left and now the Conservatives are locked in an effort to get rid of the establishment GOP.

      The GOP is headed for disaster no matter what the left does because the GOP as it exists today basically promotes the view that it hates just about every Demographic other than the southern angry white guy.

      you can’t win national elections that way.

      • “The GOP is headed for disaster no matter what the left does because the GOP as it exists today basically promotes the view that it hates just about every Demographic other than the southern angry white guy.”

        No, that’s what creeps like YOU and Obama promote.

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