Conservatives today often call for “Principled Candidates” who draw “real contrasts” between us and the Left. I couldn’t agree more.
But how do we draw contrasts when the audience doesn’t share our principles?
The Viewpoint of Becky
For a moment, I want you to stop being like me; stop being a Conservative political junkie. Taking a step outside your well-informed bubble, become instead a typical, apolitical American—one who rarely thinks about the epic struggles of Right versus Left. Let’s call you “Becky” (guys, just deal with it).
As Becky, you may not think politically, but your immersion in this culture leaves you highly influenced by the Left. You just trust liberalism more. Unbeknownst to you, the vast majority of your High School and College teachers were union Liberals coating lessons in Leftist thought. Those trustworthy newscasts you watch in the break room at work are skewed by hardcore Leftists. And of course, pretty much every movie and TV show paints the Left as normal and trustworthy.
You are Becky—bearer of an “open mind” that is closed to all things Conservative. You’re a puppet who denies the existence of strings. You’re an inactive activist. You’re a pawn.
Now Becky, when you hear Republican candidates speak, you don’t hear them as they think you hear them. They think they’re drawing contrasts by pushing lower taxes, smaller government, and a strong national defense. They think they’re drawing contrasts by supporting traditional family values. They think you’ll hear responsibility, maturity, and goodness.
But do you, Becky? No way. In each of these areas, the Left has spent decades laying down a dense fog to obscure your vision. Becky, let’s see what you really hear in the traditional Republican message:
Lower Taxes: For whom? The Democrats only raise taxes on the wealthy, right? And you (Becky) know the rich have more than they need. Republicans are just defending their rich pals.
Smaller Government: This sounds good, but not if Republicans mean cutting services for people in need. And we need investment in green energy too, because that’s our future, right?
Strong National Defense: What happened to smaller government? Republicans want a big army to serve the interests of big corporations. Iraq never attacked us! Becky, you support our people in uniform, not the GOP warmongers! They all work for Big Oil!
Traditional Family Values: But Becky, you work with some gay people, and one of your friends had an abortion after being raped in college. Who are Republicans to take rights away from these good people? One lady at work worships “The Goddess” or whatever, and while you’re not sure about that, she covered two shifts for you when your son came down with the flu. Isn’t that a family value? Republicans act like anyone who isn’t Christian is immoral!
Here’s my point: We’re using a sales pitch that Becky doesn’t hear. This isn’t working. Wasting billions on fruitless ads, we’re drawing no real contrast—none at all. Remember, our Leftist opponents have spent decades programming our audience, so now the fog is too thick. Becky can’t understand. To her, we’re just some distant voice criticizing everything she trusts.
Changing Our Sales Pitch
So what can we do? Simple: Clear the fog. How? First, find something the Left always does that most people hate. Then, do the opposite. Really, it’s that easy. For the moment, set aside your myriads of talking points, simplifying your message for a distracted, brainwashed audience. This will lift the fog.
Fortunately, the Left already violates one area where Becky still sees clearly; an area that says, “This is okay, but that isn’t.” For while Becky doesn’t know how much her decisions are influenced in this culture, she still believes in her right to make those decisions. She loves having a choice. Whatever the circumstances in her life, “choice” will always sell with Becky—always.
And this is the Left’s great weakness. Exploit it, and millions of Becky’s will run to our side.
Understand, Democrats love control. It is their religion; their god. Don’t think so? Observe:
I could go on, but the examples would fill a book. The Left lives, eats, drinks, and breathes control—or more accurately, “collective control.” And as luck would have it, we on the Right already embrace the opposite of collective control, which is “individual liberty”—or in modern parlance, “choice.”
Think about it. Why do Conservatives want lower taxes, smaller government, and a strong national defense? Because we hate control. Lower taxes free us to make more of our own fiscal choices. Smaller government frees us to direct more of our own affairs. A strong national defense protects our culture of choice from a world that opposes such freedoms. Conservatives love choice.
And so does Becky. Though she doesn’t know it, she’s already on our side.
This is the contrast, my friends. This is it. Learn it, share it, explain it, embrace it, and you’ll find yourself opening the eyes of Becky’s everywhere. On each issue, we and our candidates should demonstrate how we want to control our own lives, not the lives of others. The Left can’t claim this—or if they do, they’ll wilt under scrutiny quicker than Hillary fielding Benghazi questions. Honestly, I have lots of fun when Liberals try to hide their addiction to control. I salivate at the opportunities.
Though cherishing our beliefs, we distinguish ourselves from the Left by saying “we don’t want our beliefs to be everyone’s laws.” Using such lines, I reach audiences supposedly closed to Conservatism.
But What About Abortion?
The Left hates choice. They just hate it. Yes, they’ve co-opted the term with abortion, but don’t let that fool you. If left unaborted, the unborn grows into a person who makes thousands of choices (most of them at the nearest mall), and all these choices are erased by a single decision. Furthermore, except in cases of rape, the unborn’s life was brought about by a mutual choice resulting in pregnancy. Thus, the abortion decision celebrates not choice, but the elimination of its consequences.
So, even on abortion, the Left grants one choice to eliminate consequences of another choice—all while erasing thousands of future choices. If you support abortion rights, that’s your call, but let’s be clear: “Pro-Choice”—especially for Democrats—isn’t really pro-choice; it’s just anti-consequence.
By the way, Pro-Choice Republicans are very different from Pro-Choice Democrats, but I don’t have time to explain here. For more detail, I refer you to The Party Of Choice website.
When both major political parties seek control, the voting public sees no contrast. And without a clear contrast cutting through the fog, more Americans will allow the Left’s dominance in media, academia and entertainment to bias them against Conservatism. We’re fighting uphill, folks. We’re endlessly fighting uphill, and the exhaustion of that fight is wearing us down. It’s time to change.
Let’s unite around individual liberty—choice. Rather than allow the Left to claim our word, let’s announce our desire to control our own lives, not the lives of others—a claim the Left can’t embrace. Doing this frees us to use all the Left’s actions as advertising against them. Every controlling legislation on their part—if we reject control—will act against them, putting them on defense.
I use this approach all the time, and Leftists hate it! I love watching them sputter and stammer, as they find themselves fighting uphill for a change. When I speak with Leftists, onlookers see Republicans as something they never expected: They see us as the good guys. This is especially fun on the blogs, as I can almost hear red-faced Leftists pounding on their keyboards in frustration—their posts go from cockiness to outrage in record time. It’s a blast!
So, am I abandoning my principles by electing not to impose them? By not forcing my beliefs, do I undercut smaller government and traditional family values? On the contrary, I sell them much better! Choice sells better than control, my friends, and I’ve moved many people toward Conservative principles by contrasting our free offer with the Left’s collective force. The Left has no choice to offer—or at least not very much. This is our strategic advantage, should we accept it.
I’ll close with a quote:
"An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens."
Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Melish, January 13, 1813
The Left feels great pleasure in control. We don’t. And that, my friends, is real contrast.