09.26.2014 1

If Republicans run as Republicans they will win

Cartoon - Stomping Ground - ALG (500)

By Rick Manning

Political pollsters have a tough job. They have to create formulas to determine if the person who they are interviewing is likely or unlikely to vote, and it is within this calculation that their reputations are made.

Typically, those who are likely to vote in an off-year election are pretty set. They are the people who always vote in elections, and a few others who are motivated by specific issues. In a wave election, the numbers of those motivated by specific issues escalates changing the electoral landscape as the candidates who are beneficiaries of this increased participation sweep to victory.

The 2014 election is rapidly looking like something new and different. Democrats are reportedly demoralized by the failed Obama Administration and general fatigue. Republicans, on the other hand, in an orgy of expectation that the primary elections believed the key to taking the Senate was getting the “electable” candidates nominated.

And get them nominated they did.

The establishment got their candidates. Now, they are staring in the face of a potentially disastrous election where their chosen ones dramatically underperform all reasonable expectations, the result of their attacks on their own political party’s base to cement primary victories.

One state party chairman has privately bemoaned that social conservatives in his state openly question why they should bother voting at all. Given the national party’s desire to kick them out of the big tent to make room for a hoped for influx of pot smoking hipsters, who can blame them?

Across the nation, tea party conservatives question the wisdom of being tied to a Republican Party that wants them to just shut up and vote for whomever the establishment decides, and it is this indecision on whether to vote at all, that is at the heart of the GOP’s polling woes.

Conservative voters who have traditionally been amongst the most likely people to vote out of a sense of civic responsibility are disgusted. They are tired of being attacked by the so-called conservative party, and really tired of being treated like second class citizens by the donor and consultant class that controls the official party.

The good news for the establishment is that conservatives want to forgive them for their attacks. They desperately want to vote Harry Reid out of the Senate Majority Leader’s office. They still believe that voting Republican is their best chance to limit the size and scope of government, and to get the runaway federal branch under control. They want to rein in the lawless executive branch and restore constitutional government.

They want to believe that the Republican Party is still the conservative political party and is not just a different gang of thieves looking to plunder America’s pocket books.

Conservatives still believe that America is the greatest country in the world, and that our system of government along with the free enterprise system provides the pathway to future prosperity. Conservatives believe that freedom is worth fighting for, even though, they hate having to do it.

Conservatives believe in the rule of law, and that those who come to our country illegally should not be rewarded for their crimes, being put ahead of those who are waiting in line and following the rules.

The Republican Party has the answer to turn these conservative voters who are currently wondering whether it is worth turning out to vote this election for candidates who have proven to despise them.

All they have to do is read and repeat to conservative voters their own political party platform, and pledge to govern by it. If the Republican establishment candidates actually ran as Republicans, the number of likely voters would swell, and the promise of a sweeping victory in November would be realized.

The next few weeks will tell the tale of whether the national Republican Party truly wants to win a transformative election that is impossible for the left to overturn in the vastly different political environment of 2016, or if they are content with at best a one or two seat majority in the Senate and a pick-up of six to ten seats in the House. A result that is highly likely to be erased in two years.

If Republicans run as Republicans in the final weeks of this election, they still can turn this into a rout. But then, they might have to govern as conservatives, and perhaps they fear that even more than being backbenchers.

Should be an interesting five weeks and change.

Rick Manning is the vice president of public policy and communications at Americans for Limited Government.

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