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November 8, 2012

"Democrats win elections by rejecting the advice they give to Republicans"

Topics: Political News and commentaries

George Neumayr has some sound advice for Republicans (like me) that believed that having a moderate as their candidate and reaching out to the middle would bring out more voters and win the election ... yet, as it turned out, Romney got the least votes of any major presidential candidate in 12 years despite the head of steam the GOP had coming out of the historic 2010 midterm elections. Simply put, the base failed to show up at the polls.

Neumayr writes:

Barack Obama's victory vindicates the "base" strategy of the Democrats. Obama never moved to the center, even as he cast his centrist opponent as an extremist. Obama didn't worry too much about winning conservative-leaning independents; he just made sure liberal Democrats got to the polls.

Democrats win elections by rejecting the "big tent" advice that they typically give to Republicans. While they mau-mau Republicans into "moving to the middle," they stand immobile on the left, maintaining fierce ideological purity and deploying wedge issues without apology. This unites their side and divides the opposition, producing contests of liberal conviction and character assassination versus GOP ambiguity and polite disagreement. They nominate candidates who accept without reservation the Democratic Party platform; Republicans struggle to find candidates willing to uphold theirs. Democrats call Republicans evil; Republicans call Democrats merely mistaken. And yet, haplessly, the Republicans are the ones who find themselves answering charges of extremism from the media.

By defining the left as the "center" and liberalism as the arbiter of reasonableness, the Democrats can play this game endlessly against the Republicans. Using this same framework, the chattering class is now happily dispensing advice to the defeated GOP. The upshot of the advice is: Just surrender and embrace liberalism.

Keep reading. Neumayr goes on to make a case for rejecting the advice of the establishment Republican pundits that predicted a victory for Romney. Proven wrong, they now present themselves again as experts on the electorate, urging the party to jettison principle in pursuit of votes. The GOP would do better to study the Democrats, who care far more about consolidating their base than constructing a wobbly big tent.

Related reads:
When Conservatism Is a Second Language
The Election... The Election of 2014
Barack Obama and the Triumph of Identity Politics

Posted by Hyscience at November 8, 2012 6:39 AM

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