by Richard Viguerie
For many years I’ve been telling the GOP establishment that Republicans never win a big election unless they nationalize the election – that means drawing a clear contrast with the Democrats and giving the voters “a tune they can whistle” on big conservative themes.
The Republican Establishment has studiously ignored that advice and the defeats of Jerry Ford, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney, as well as the 1998 and 2006 congressional elections are proof that running a content-free campaign and refusing to nationalize the election is a losing strategy for Republicans, especially in a midterm election year like 2018.
According to Rasmussen Reports daily tracking poll, Democrats continue to lead Republicans on the latest Generic Congressional Ballot, but after two weeks of a tightening race, Democrats have expanded their lead.
Rasmussen’s latest telephone and online survey found that 48% of Likely U.S. Voters would choose the Democratic candidate if the elections for Congress were held today. Forty-one percent (41%) would opt for the Republican. Four percent (4%) prefer some other candidate, and eight percent (8%) are undecided.
As I see it, 2018 will likely be another Republican wipeout, like 2006, unless we conservatives nationalize the election by getting voters refocused on big conservative issues; building the wall, limiting immigration, religious liberty, rebuilding our national defense, reducing job-killing regulations, and getting tough on crime and illegal border crossing.
To those who say Trump pulled out a victory in the recent Ohio Special Election, I say as vigorous and enthusiastic campaigner as Donald Trump is, he can only show up the weekend before the election to save a few congressional candidates whose campaigns are lagging. If we conservatives want to win we can’t wait around for the GOP establishment, we must nationalize the election and refocus voters on the conservative – populist agenda that elected Donald Trump.
And current events keep handing the GOP opportunities to do that, if they will only seize them.
In Pennsylvania a previously-deported illegal alien, who had been arrested for domestic battery, was released by Philadelphia’s sanctuary city Mayor James Kenny’s policy of ignoring ICE detainer requests. The illegal alien, Juan Ramon Vasquez, also known as Ramon Aguirre-Ochoa, raped a four-year-old girl while he was at large thanks to Mayor Kenny’s sanctuary city policy.
Philadelphia’s sanctuary city policy has been strongly defended by Democratic Senator Robert Casey, now facing a spirited challenge from Republican Rep. Lou Barletta.
Barletta has dipped his toe into the sanctuary city issue, but he has the opportunity to nationalize the election by making Juan Ramon Vasquez into this year’s Willie Horton and pounding Casey on his support for sanctuary cities and illegal immigration.
The problem is, the Republican establishment and its insider clique of Washington-based political consultants prefers to run content-free campaigns, rather than make the election a clear choice between the Democrats’ radical positions and conservative alternatives because in all too many cases they don’t really share our conservative values.
In 2010, Tea Party candidates, without any real direction from the national GOP, drew a sharp contrast with Big Government Republicans and with the Democrats on taxes, spending, the growth of government, and especially on Obamacare, to power the GOP to pick up six Senate seats and win historic sixty-three seats in the US House of Representatives, recapturing the majority, and making it the largest seat change since 1948 and the largest for any midterm election since the 1938 midterm elections.
The 2018 midterm election is, or should be, a once in a lifetime opportunity to differentiate the parties and to brand the Democratic Party as the party of sanctuary cities, illegal aliens, violent radical socialists, job-killing regulation and Obama’s apologize for America foreign policy failures.
But that differentiation and branding won’t take place if the GOP hews to the current strategy of Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell of running content-free “prevent defense” campaigns that “move to the center” by touting show votes and minor issues that alienate conservatives and have nothing to do with the top concerns of the electorate.
We are the leaders we have been waiting for. If not now, when? If not us, who?
Conservatives must recognize that establishment Republicans are never going to figure this out. Over many years they have demonstrated that they will not change – they are too invested in the insider consultant-driven culture that brought the party, content-free as it has become, to this point.
Starting today, starting right now, each conservative must commit themselves to demanding answers from the Democrats – and establishment Republicans – on where they stand on these issues; building the wall, national security, especially as it relates to radical Islam and the threats from China, NAFTA, illegal immigration, law-and-order, unfair trade deals, and especially sanctuary cities.
You can start by focusing your conservative organization, if you’re part of one, on these three issues: Building the Wall, Ending Sanctuary Cities and Law-and-Order. You can write op-eds, letters to the editor, blog posts, email and social media posts – and don’t be afraid to pressure your local GOP committee and Republican candidates – demand that your U.S. Senate, congressional and state legislative candidates campaign on those winning issues.
You can also exercise the First Amendment rights guaranteed in the Constitution and preserved by the Supreme Court and take out an ad calling out Democratic candidates on these issues.
Finally, and most effectively, you can tell your friends and acquaintances where you stand, why this election is so important and why they should reject Democratic candidates who are soft on these issues and vote for Republican candidates who support Donald Trump’s conservative – populist agenda and who have committed to the conservative position on your top issues.