Ben Shapiro is an extremely talented and insightful reporter for Breitbart and his articles are always spot on, informative, and replete with substantiating information that backstops every point he makes. In dealing with the election of 2014 he has been tireless in pointing out what Republicans have to be mindful of, so there isn’t a lot I can add to his insights, but I do feel compelled to give my own spin to some of it.
Moving toward 2016 as we inevitably must with the end of the midterms, there are certain rules of the road the Republicans need to remember that they almost failed to remember in this cycle until the very end. Certainly Democrats will be learning from their mistakes and will not want to be beaten twice, so the right would be well advised to learn some lessons and work on making them part of their everyday methodology.
Stop Alienating The Base. Republicans not only need to fulfill the expectations of their base, they need to recognize more clearly who that base is. They need to understand they’re beholding to many groups and have an obligation to uphold a certain responsibility to all of those people, including the Tea Party. They have a duty to remember where they come from and that they are not another version of the Democrats and not obliged to tack left just to win elections. They have a responsibility to define themselves, their policies, and then go out and talk to all of the people, of every race, religion, and ethnic background, to let them know the benefit that comes from a conservative agenda for America.
Exploit Fissures In The Democratic Base. Maybe the better way to state this is “expose” and then exploit the fissures in the democrat base. Blacks across America are beginning to see they are being used by the left as their lives are not improving under democrat leadership and in fact are worse today than they have been in the past. Hispanics are naturally conservative and very industrious as an ethnic group. They are a natural fit for republicans if they are dealt with fairly. Republicanism is a big tent because it does tolerate dissent and disagreement which is the basis of debate and new ideas. That in itself is an advantage democrats do not have and this above all should be exploited to the advantage of republicans every election cycle.
Don’t Ignore The Narrative. The biggest complaint that can be leveled against any politician, especially a republican is the notion that a democrat can “misspeak”, be a “friend on the other side of the aisle”, or even be mistaken in their view of an issue. It has been said that politics is a contact sport and the fact is that too often a lie is not called what it is, “A LIE.” Democrats use a very subtle form of public speech which is deliberately intended to mischaracterize, misinform, and mislead. Republicans need to get their backs up and start learning to call them out when they engage in this behavior so that the narrative can never settle negatively against them.
Democrats used the mantra about reproductive rights being taken away because the SCOTUS said that Hobby Lobby did not have to provide 10% of the birth control options for religious reasons. It was a lie and every time it was stated it should have been corrected verbatim.
Democrats have been scurrilous in the lie about the war on women, yet which party has shown that it supports and advances the careers of women in politics regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity? This must be made the point to counter their lies every time. The list goes on.
Don’t Let Cash Substitute For Passion. The Republicans won big in 2014 thanks to a base eager to knock on doors and work the phones, not donors. In 2016, precisely the reverse is likely to occur. Democratic donors are in tune with their base, Republican donors scorn the base as backward. A Chris Christy, Jeb Bush, or similar moderate progressive will kill the spirit of the base. Republicans need a candidate who is fired up with a great passion for America and her future. America needs a conservative and would do well to run one if they want to win in 2016.
Don’t Let Passion Substitute For Brains. There will be a substantial push by members of the base to punish President Obama. That push may lead to tactics that are likely to fail dramatically, ignoring the presence of an adversarial media looking for opportunities to boost both Obama and Hillary. Every legislative target must be carefully chosen and considered; establishment types must not hope for media support, and conservative hard core base types must not pretend that media spin doesn’t matter.
The big question now confronts a newly-emergent Republican majority in the Senate and an overwhelming Republican majority in the House: what next? Some party leaders have called for working with the opposition; some have proposed comprehensive legislation. Others say it’s time to push forward with a hard-core conservative agenda, full speed ahead.
The answer lies in combating the narrative the media will embrace: Republicans as the Party of No. The media, seeking to prop up a Hillary Clinton run, will now demonize the Republican Party as a roadblock to progress. Which is why the GOP must reverse the narrative. It is President Obama who is the roadblock. He is, in fact, the President of No.
The GOP must move beyond omnibus packages, pork-laden monstrosities cobbled together via a consensus-building process. They should pursue short, single-issue bills, no more than 10 pages in length, with clear and concise language. The bills should all be simple, comprehensible, and inescapable in the conclusions constituents should draw from a Congressional vote on them.
Here are the top options for Republicans:
Stop Amnesty Now. Republicans should pass a one-page bill defunding any government agency of that refuses to implement federal immigration law or that facilitates such refusal. The executive branch does not have the cash to implement amnesty – unless Congress gives it to them.
Border Security. Republicans should immediately pass a bill securing the southern border, with funds available to complete the fence. Those funds should, if possible, be given to border state governors for implementation should those governors apply for grants. Republicans should fully fund all immigration agents so that the lie that government can’t keep track of those illegally in the country can be put to bed once and for all: if the IRS can keep track of hundreds of millions of Americans, the feds can keep track of 10 million illegal immigrants.
Piecemeal Funding Of The Government. Republicans should individually fund each portion of the government, and force Obama to sign or veto every one of those bills. Let him go on record as opposing funding for the Defense Department, the Centers for Disease Control, and the like, all in order to preserve his precious Obamacare. It will be hard to argue that a shutdown is the Republicans’ fault when he has hundreds of individual bills funding everything Americans want on his desk awaiting signature.
Repeal Obamacare. I agree that Obamacare must go but I see a more incremental path as a function of the reality of getting it done. Defunding parts of it and developing some inroads with insurance companies to design some more effective and less costly coverages is a necessary part of solving a major part of the problem. Getting rid of tax burdens, mandates, and burdensome parts where possible should be done. But until Obama is gone the resistance and the rhetoric will be too great to make the battle effective or worthwhile. I defer to my tactical background and say pick the battles you can win and nibble away at the enemies strength until in the end they are left an empty shell that can be dismantled and discarded with greater ease and people will be glad to see it go.
Restore Defense Department Cuts. The cuts to Defense funding under President Obama’s sequestration have been disastrous for Americans’ security. Republicans should move quickly to replace Defense spending in the face of a growing threat from Islamic terrorism, Russian imperialism, and Chinese militarism.
Withdraw Funding From Certain Parts of The United Nations. Actually I would go a step further than Ben here and say that the United States should actually cease paying dues to the UN until it cleans up its acts and reflects a more objective and balanced body of opinion reflecting a fair representation of all the countries who are part of its membership. Israel should no longer be subject to punishment as a terrorist country while countries that promote terrorism are part of the Human Rights Commission. The UN is an amoral joke. Spending millions of taxpayer dollars to prop up failing dictatorships and thug-o-cracies is ludicrous.
Pass Strong Sanctions on Iran, Withdraw Funding for the Palestinian Authority, Move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. President Obama’s pro Islamic agenda has endangered the world and brought it to the brink of the greatest potential nuclear arms race in the Middle East since the one that followed World War II. His funding of the Palestinians has accelerated attacks on Israel by funding the terror tunnels from Gaza into Israel and arming the Hamas factions. His failure to call out their use of the civilian population as living shields for their terror operatives has cost thousands of innocent lives. His rhetoric toward the leadership of Israel has been reckless and irresponsible. In summary he has been a disaster who has done more to place the world on the precipice of destruction than anyone in our history.
Dismantle Common Core. Federal power over education should be delegated back to the states, where it belongs. Republicans on the state level should then vote to set up grant programs that create actual teacher training standards, as in countries like Finland.
Green light Keystone XL and Open Energy Resources. Obama has been trying to claim credit for the energy advances America has made in the last six years but those advances have come in spite of his policies no because of them. Stop the war on Coal. Stop the EPA blanket destruction of the energy sector. Allow drilling and let America realize her energy potential. Green light the Keystone XL and give America what she wants, jobs and energy.
I have borrowed heavily in this article from Ben Shapiro and wish to be sure that he is given credit for his ideas which do not differ greatly from my own. There is much more that can and should be done for the American people by this newly minted Republican majority, but make no mistake they will have to, and should have to fight for everything they get. That is why they get the big bucks. The bottom line as Ben so aptly states it: if Republicans blow this opportunity to draw a contrast with the Democratic Party, they will have failed dramatically. President Obama must become the President of No in order for Americans to see Republicans as a party worth saying yes to in 2016.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the new book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.