A recent poll from the Pew Research Center finds Republicans split over the direction of the party, with 54 percent of respondents believing a more conservative agenda is necessary, while 40 percent believe the party should move in a more moderate tone.
As an independent who fears the left way more than the right, I must say this is a disappointing finding.
What this finding suggests is that members of the party are content with run-of-the-mill strategies that obviously have failed to move the country toward a conservative direction. What the Republican Party needs right now is to come to the center – but not for the reasons you may think. Taking a more moderate tone will attract more independent voters. However, the greatest gain in voters will be seen as a result of the often-forgotten sphere of government: actual governing.
Right now, the party is a party of obstruction. While strategists and congressmen claim this is to protect the country from toxic policy, all they are doing is painting a picture of a bullheaded party bent on impeding the democratic process. This is a good thing on Hannity and O’Reilly, but it is not a good thing in local precincts.
This is where a strategy of compromise comes into play. Let’s first establish the groundwork. The GOP needs to retain its current supporters and gain new voters. Republicans will never gain voters based on social issues, so those need to be brushed aside for now. Second, what baffled so many during the 2012 election was how popular the president was despite such a weak economy. If the old saying is true – that people “vote with their wallets” – then the incumbents should have been defeated; this was not the case.
So what drew so many people away from the Republican Party? They were the villains; the party of “no,” of obstruction, the party of anti-Obama. This clearly turned off many swing voters, and negative messages like this always will turn off swing voters.
What’s the solution? Be positive, compromise on the issues, sweep aside political disagreements and, most importantly, govern to govern. There always will be another election, so why not just focus on doing your jobs for the little breaks between the elections?
If the GOP wants to regain its standing with the American people, it needs to show the American people that it doesn’t want to stop government. It needs to show the people that it wants to lead the government.