To win elections, Republicans will have to modify their approach on key issues. They can either win or be right on the issues but not both.
Many years ago, our kids took a short course in “krav maga,” which is a Jewish version of martial arts. How original it is or how much it takes from the more well-known systems I do not know. One thing the instructor taught was that if G-d forbid someone is coming with a knife, it is almost impossible to stop his forward arm momentum. What one can do though is to deflect his arm to the side so that the knife goes past the body and not into it. This idea of deflecting motion has been useful for many educational activities, where a kid was determined to do something and then getting him to use the same energy and desire in a better direction.
If the Republicans want to win in 2024 and beyond, they need to adopt positions that will appeal to the vast majority of independent voters. One of the key factors behind the failed “red tsunami” was the Supreme Court ruling throwing out Roe v Wade. On the one hand, it was a victory for conservatives long in coming. On the practical side, the Democrats used the opening to accuse Republicans, and not without some help from a few Republicans, of wanting to throw doctor and pregnant woman into jail. In Nevada, there was no end to the commercials accusing Adam Laxalt and other candidates of wanting to criminalize abortion. While many would very much want to make abortion completely illegal from coast to coast, a lot of people who vote see places where abortion has a place in American society. You can call them all the names you want, but they vote, and if they vote for the guy/girl/it with a “D” next to its name, then any progress in making America a better country will have been lost.
Below are some suggestions for a winning Republican strategy on some key issues. While extreme approaches may work in a handful of states, they will not fly in the swing states that any presidential candidate will need to win.
Abortion: The Republicans should have a policy of limited abortion being legal. Rape, incest, risk to the mother, and up to a predetermined number of weeks—these are positions that most Americans consider reasonable. If you want a total ban and also to arrest those who buy abortion pills across state lines, then your top victory will be for local dog catcher. If the Republicans do not come up with a clear, easily-explained abortion program, the Democrats will again tar them with the claim of throwing doctors and women into jail. See how that sells with independents, many of them young women who believe the calumny.
Energy. I also like “drill, baby, drill” but there are those who have fallen for the green charade. Republicans should stress the importance of inexpensive energy and that promotion of drilling and fracking will be done to keep prices down. Talk about gas being under $3 a gallon and how that would make salaries go farther. The green scam is a lie, but the focus needs to be on how Republicans alone wish to make energy affordable for all Americans in an “all of the above” approach that could include wind and solar where it makes financial and energy sense.
Trans. The whole subject is a travesty. I am a biochemist and there is XX and there is XY for human chromosomes and one cannot wish himself to be a her or vice versa. Seeing wild trans activists threatening JK Rowling and others for simply pointing out third-grade biology is frustrating. But do we want to win elections or get a Nobel Prize in medicine? Adult men and women should be allowed to do what they want. Competitions need to add a new trans category with medals so as to protect girls and women from unfair competition. Children need to be protected from this mania and supporting parents’ rights to know and to make all decisions on the subject for their children is a winner with the vast majority of normal parents. Backing parents worked in Virginia and it can work nationally as well.
The Border. How wonderful to seal the border and send back all those who entered illegally. I believe that most Americans will support a sealed and properly regulated border. But what to do of the millions who are in the US illegally? The US position should be case-by-case, whereby some will be allowed to stay if for family or work contribution reasons while others will be sent back. Most Americans realize that the open border is a disaster for the US (think fentanyl, lowered wages, damaged border communities) and for many of the illegals being exploited in the US. The time has come to close the border and deal with those illegally in the US once and for all. No blanket amnesties; only for limited reasons should one be allowed to remain after paying a fine for their illegal entry.
The Republican Party, if it really wants to win and not just lose nobly, must find positions that are conservative but still appealing to the voters needed to win elections. Pointing out how awful the Democrats and their pro-crime and pro-inflation policies are did not work in 2022. Remember that all of those terrible Soros DA’s were democratically elected, some by wide margins. Being a purist on abortion, the border, trans, and green energy may be wonderful for a think tank position or someone running for a position in rural Oklahoma, but if the Republicans want to win big nationally and right the ship of state, then they need to take the Left’s positions and rework them into a winning formula for the GOP.