Republicans: It’s Time to Change Your Strategy

Even though President Obama’s economic speeches across the country this past week haven’t rippled outside the beltway and the politically savvy circles of America, there are plenty of lessons to be learned from the same old, same old rhetoric we’ve been hearing for the past five years.

The result of last year’s election spectacle of Barack Obama versus Mitt Romney shocked many conservatives and libertarians across the country. Most rational people thought that Obama would surely fail in his reelection bid due to the anemic economy, lack of jobs, declining incomes, international faux pas, and the Benghazi scandal (to name only a handful of Obama’s failings). Whether Romney’s loss was due to low Republican turnout, incompetency on the part of the Republican Party, or fraud, we will probably never know.

What was clear in the fallout of the election was that despite huge policy similarities between the two candidates, there was broad public agreement on this perception: Romney cares about the one percent, and Obama cares about you.

This is the continuing narrative that Obama employed during his speeches this week. Titled “A Better Bargain,” Obama kept proposing his idea of building the economy from the middle out, and offering protections for the middle class that are long overdue, in his estimation. Obamacare, low student loan rates, immigration reform, and expanded entitlements are part and parcel to this idea. And a majority of the public has bought into it. Polls continue to indicate that Obama is doing a good job of looking out for them and their interests, even though he’s done very little in any regard.

Throughout his presidency, Obama has separated himself from the nebulous body of “Washington,” where he claims he has little influence without droves of supporters demanding that his agenda be implemented. If Republicans in Congress want to get the country on their side in order to expand freedom, they need to shift their messaging toward the middle class populism that has brought Obama some success. This does not equate with pandering or compromising principles.

Much improvement can come purely from marketing. Campaign slogans like “A Better Bargain” and the messaging that comes with it fares better with the average American than “Path to Prosperity” and wonky budget mumbo jumbo does. Tell people specifics. How much money are they going to save with your plan? How much will the debt decrease? What will citizens be allowed to do with an expansion of liberty?

There are other golden opportunities on the table. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that there would be a chance to vastly diminish the power of or abolish the IRS, but with the scandal involving the Tea Party, that chance is a real possibility. Then you proactively propose what to put in its place to fund the federal government.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that Obamacare could be repealed after its passage in 2010, but with the delay of the employer mandate and the rising cost of health insurance before the law is even in effect, the public can be easily swayed to believe that the law will not work. Then you proactively propose what to put in its place to make healthcare cheaper and more available while promoting free market policies.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that the surveillance state imposed upon innocent Americans could be curtailed or even eliminated altogether, but Minnesota congressman Justin Amash had an amendment come to the floor of the House that would defund the NSA if they spied on people suspected of no crime in their surveillance dragnet. It failed due to many Republicans voting against Amash’s coalition, but there’s a possibility that it may pass in the future as more Republicans trade their hawkishness for the oath they took to the Constitution.

Republicans: Take control of the Democrat-driven narrative, and you just might have a chance to survive. These are issues that Americans care about. They will respond positively as they did during the Reagan Revolution and the 2010 midterms if you strike it right.

Content published on the Young Americans for Liberty blog is only representative of the opinions and research of the individual authors. It does not necessarily reflect the views, goals, or membership of YAL.

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