If I were a Republican

GopIt was fascinating to watch all of the post-election finger-pointing and self-denial in Republican camps yesterday. I found myself particularly mesmerized by the Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity shows on Fox & Friends.

The former grilled a number of pollsters. Billy (as his sidekick, Dennis Miller, affectionately calls O’Reilly) kept asking the numbers-cruncher the exact same question, “Why do we (read: Republicans) do so well with married women and so poorly with single ones?” Each expert, in turn, responded in more or less the same way. Each made the case that Republicans had done everything possible to send single women the wrong signals (read: Republicans are not interested in a single woman’s wants and needs). O’Reilly would have none of it. He even called one statistician delusional.

Hannity took a different tack when he interviewed Bob Woodward on his program. Hannity was convinced the liberal media had won the election for Obama. Woodward immediately interrupted Hannity, saying his newspaper, The Washington Post, had actually analyzed the coverage and found it to be fair and balanced (as Fox likes to say about its own reportage). In fact, he cited the savaging of Obama by any, and all, media in the aftermath of his dismal first debate as proof positive of balanced coverage. Like his cohort, though, Hannity would have none of it. In fact, he went on to accuse the liberal media of a vast conspiracy that “covered-up and completely overlooked” the Benghazi terrorist attacks.

For the record, I’m neither Republican nor Democrat. I choose, instead, to vote for the candidate. Indeed, my personal votes on election day were evenly divided.

If I were a Republican, though, I’d stop talking and start listening.

Indeed, I’d stop preaching and proselytizing altogether. Instead, I’d literally put myself in the shoes of the voting bases I need to attract in 2016.

I’d take the time to study Emily Yellin’s book, ‘Your call is (not that) important to us’ and start experiencing the Republican Party brand from the outside in (as voters do). I’d sit alongside a single woman as she experiences the messaging and platforms of both parties. I’d accompany a Latino family as they listen to stump speeches from both sides and I’d be all ears as college students discuss political priorities.

The best brands are those who take the time to listen to their customers, walk in their shoes and experience the brand from the outside in. If the Republicans start doing the same, you might, just might, see less ranting and more empathy the next time around.

11 thoughts on “If I were a Republican

  1. Spot on, ghost. The Republican Party’s refusal to budge from their core beliefs is a bigger hurdle than trying to enter Manhattan via the Lincoln Tunnel at rush hour.

  2. While I agree a Tea Party split seems like a logical conclusion, can the “mainstream” Republican party win without them? It seems to me that, combined, both groups make up about 35% of the electorate; if they were to divide, it’s not clear how either would serve as a threat to a Democratic majority.
    The other question is whether the ideological factions within the Republican party are willing to sacrifice their positions in order to win an election. I think portions of the GOP are more wed to their issues than to election victories — and that they believe that giving up those issues in order to win an election is more of a failure than a victory.

  3. Indeed. Speaking selfishly, it’s critical that Obama/Congress NOT raise taxes on small businesses. They’re key to keeping this weak economy limping along.

  4. While Republicans and Democrats fight over ideology, the end to unemployment is nowhere in sight. The nose-dive that the stock market took the day after the Election is not a good sign for the future of the U.S. economy.

  5. You’re right, Matt. In fact, the Republicans actually pioneered modern campaign tactics under the aegis of the late Lee Atwater. His ‘Willie Horton’ tactics decimated Democratic candidate, Michael Dukakis, way back in 1988. In addition, W. orchestrated a major smear campaign against John McCain in the 2000 primaries. So, there’s lot of ‘low-road’ history on the GOP side. Sadly, both parties have been going negative for decades now. And, I think it will only get worse.

  6. I completely agree, Will. But, I also agree with more than a few commentators who are predicting the far right Tea Party element will split away from the mainstream Republican Party. We’re already two separate countries and, I’m afraid, well on the way to becoming three separate ones.

  7. It’s going to take a Republican willing to visibly stand-up and condemn the nonsense spewed by the Limbaughs, Trumps and Akins of the world to make the GOP appeal to the middle of the electorate once gain. The Republican brand has been led astray by the religious right for some time, and now, the Tea Party is exacerbating the fundamental problem. Last night Hannity, O’Reilly and others were claiming Obama won by taking the low road, by branding Romney a vulture capitalist and corporate raider, yet they seem to have forgotten that Gingrich kicked-off that trend with a 30 minute expose funded by none other than Sheldon Adelson. Jon Stewart crushed them on this last night

  8. The Conservative party in the UK finally ‘got it’ after losing three times in a row (or at least some of them did), so let’s hope the GOP can do the same, so the sake of a healthy democracy. A political party can’t be successful when all it does is talk at people about things they hold dear and expect everyone to agree. It’s amazing to see Fox (and friends) actually attack pollsters and say they got it wrong. The people have spoken and spoken pretty clearly and unless the GOP starts to realise that they’re talking a different language to the majority, then they’ll stay out of office. Parties of the right needn’t be marginalised, they just need to realise that the world changes, and change with it.

  9. Dick Morris and Carl Rove reminded me of the Duke brothers at the end of Trading Places. “Turn those machines back on!”
    Time to understand America, as you say, Rep.