First, let’s define GOP success before we discuss the 2014 midterm elections and cuteness theory.
GOP success, 4 parameters:
1. Retaining the majority in the U. S. House of Representatives (national level).
2. Gaining a majority in the U.S. Senate (national level).
3. Retaining majorities in the Arizona House and Senate (state level for this writer).
4. Defeating Democrat Congressman Ron Barber in Arizona CD2 (local representation for this writer).
Voters from other areas than Cochise County, Arizona, will of course need to modify the listings for #3 and #4. That said, how do we go about it? Where are the opportunities, and where are the pitfalls?
Part of it, we can do nothing about. That is, there’s no way to “get better candidates” than whoever decides to run. You get what you get. Far too often, We the People end up holding our noses when voting for a candidate we personally would not have chosen. Therein, however, lies one of the huge pitfalls we can avoid if we choose to do so, and that is,
Pitfall #1: Apathy. In politics, there are few things deadlier than the venomous power of apathy in voters who choose not to vote at all but “stay home” simply because their preferred candidate did not win the primary election. Case in point: The 2012 Presidential election, in which millions of GOP voters avoided the polls simply because they had no “enthusiasm” for Mitt Romney as a candidate.
And that, my friends, is a huge problem.
Don’t get me wrong. Mitt wouldn’t have been my first choice as a candidate, either. But stay home? With Barack Obama aiming to hang onto the catbird seat? When I first heard on the news that it was head-in-the-sand GOP no-shows who’d basically handed Obama the election on a silver platter, my reaction was, “Are you kidding?!”
Unfortunately, they weren’t kidding. President Obama won reelection by roughly one third of one million votes nationwide. Millions (different reports put the numbers between 8 and 12 million) GOP voters kicked back in a snark-fit and in so became de facto Democrats.
Okay, so…what do we do about that? How do we make it clear to our couch potato protester friends and neighbors that such inaction is tantamount to shooting oneself in the Constitution?
Unfortunately, I have more questions than answers today. Just last evening, a fellow Palominas Tea Party member whose political views are usually fairly compatible with my own…stated vehemently that she’d refuse to vote for a certain candidate in the general election if that candidate won the primary. Egads. The couch potato protesters are, sadly, alive and well.
GOP success: The cuteness theory.
That same friend, referring to Presidential politics, said that in order to win the Presidency in 2016, we need a “cute” candidate. I understood what she meant. Barack Obama is, in her terminology, a “cute” politician, i.e., not the solid sort of statesman any nation needs at the helm but rather a physically attractive individual who spews out “cute” sound bites.
You know. Like, “If you want to keep your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Your health care premiums will go down.” Or, in Hillary Clinton’s case when grilled about the Benghazi debacle that left four Americans dead, “What difference does it make?!”
No. Wait. That last one was definitely not cute.
But you get the point. If the Democrats have outplayed the Republicans in any one element, it’s in the area of “cute” sound bites. “You can keep your doctor.” That’s short and sweet, just five words. Understandable. Easy to remember. Never mind that it’s a lie; it’s definitely cute–and judging by the 2012 elections (though not so much the 2010 elections), “cute” sells.
On the other hand, GOP apologists speak of “tort reform”. Okay, now, that’s short–but it’s definitely neither sweet nor cute. A whole lot of Americans on the street today can’t tell you the names of any American Presidents other than Barack Obama and Abraham Lincoln. They sure as heck don’t have any idea what tort reform might be.
“Tort? Isn’t that one of those pastry things with jam in it or something?”
The average 23 year old with a wife, a kid, and one on the way is too busy with other things to care about tort reform even if he did understand it. Sure, reining in the out of control no-limits lawsuits by ambulance chasing shark-finned lawyers and their gimme-a-free-lunch clients will definitely lower insurance premiums in the long run, but only indirectly. It takes a while for the free market forces to make that happen. In the meantime, they were told (in earlier years), “Your premiums will go down.” Understandable, that. Cute.
Will the Republicans be able to capitalize on the Obamacare train wreck? Maybe, maybe not. If they can focus on cuteness, then yes. “Your premiums went up. You did not get to keep your doctor.”
But even then, the GOP needs to have cuteness built into an alternative plan. It doesn’t have that at the moment. Maybe it will never have it. However, were We the GOP to “go cute” with the tort reform issue as one aspect of an alternative to Obamacare, it might be stated this way: “Your premiums will go down–because lawyers won’t be allowed to rake in ten million dollars for a ten thousand dollar mistake by a doctor.”
Okay, it’s still too wordy to be truly cute, but it’s at least mildly attractive, and it’s not that hard to remember. Two out of three ain’t everything, but it’s better than what we have now.
It also adopts the Obama strategy of utilizing class warfare–against lawyers in this case–which isn’t cute, either, but it does seem to work.