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Principles and Electability   February 21st, 2012
Our principles ARE electable       


More observations...

As the Republican contest for the nomination has unfolded, the one recurring theme has been 'electability.' Republicans are told that we shouldn't be foolish and nominate the candidate that most closely reflects our values and principles, but rather we should vote based on the perceived electability of the candidates.

This is a recipe for defeat.

Choosing a candidate based on electability presupposes that we know not just want other voters want now, but what they'll want nine months from now. As electoral history has shown us, candidates can go from 'electable' to 'unelectable' in just a few weeks before the election. To try to divine what American voters will be thinking months in advance is a fool's errand.

Additionally, when we're told to choose an 'electable' candidate that's usually a codeword for 'moderate.' There's scant evidence that a moderate candidate is more electable than a principled conservative. In the last three decades, our most conservative nominee--President Reagan--enjoyed landslide victories while our less conservative and moderate candidates have won by slim margins-- or lost. And although it's usually the Republican establishment that pushes hard for the 'electable' candidate, it's not at all clear that the establishment has a better track record than 'we the people' when it comes to choosing candidates.

The assumption that a moderate is somehow more electable would seem to be based on the premise that if our candidate is as similar as possible to the Democrat on policy, the election will be decided based on things political consultants think they can control: political strategy, creative campaigning, attack ads-- and maybe a little help from external factors such as the economy. And given two candidates that are more similar than not, we should expect to win about 50% of the time.

That strategy might make sense if Americans were liberal. But poll after poll over the course of decades has indicated that America leans conservative. Thus it makes little sense to claim that the least conservative candidate is somehow the most electable. It makes similarly little sense to believe that a 50/50 shot with the candidate that most closely mimics the Democrat is our best opportunity to win.

And while some say that defeating Obama is too important to risk nominating a conservative, I would suggest that America's current predicament is too precarious to nominate anyone who isn't conservative.

America absolutely needs someone who's willing to take the heat as they stand up against the establishment, special interests, and the powerful financial world. We can't settle for a slick and polished politician who will say the right things to the wrong people and manage our country as it sinks into economic Armageddon. And that is most likely our future if we elect (or re-elect) the wrong person as president. We need someone that is able to take the heat, even when what he says isn't popular with the audience he's addressing... not someone who's going to change what he says for the audience he's addressing.

Finally, we need to nominate a candidate that we're excited about. Defeating Obama's billion-dollar campaign is not going to be easy; especially if he can fake the economic numbers to make it look like there's another psuedo-recovery long enough to get re-elected. If we aren't excited about our own candidate, how can we expect to launch an effective get-out-the-vote effort? If we aren't excited about our own candidate, how can we expect others to be excited about our candidate? It's completely illogical to believe that we can somehow pick a candidate that we aren't excited about yet hope to get the so-called 'moderates' excited. Moderates don't get excited. More likely than not, they're persuaded by the excitement of others. So we need to be excited.

We must support and vote for the Republican candidate that most closely reflects our values and ideology. For some, that will be Santorum. For others it will be Gingrich. And for others it will be Romney or Paul. And that's all fine, it's why we have a nomination process.

But Please don't retreat from our principles because the establishment and the media has made you fear that our principles are somehow a minority view. They aren't. Don't let them convince you that our principles are unelectable. They're not. Don't let them tell you that we should be ashamed of our principles. We shouldn't be. And don't accept the cop-out that we should fight for our principles, just not right now. This is the moment we must fight for our principles like never before.

Let's pick a nominee that will fight for our values. Let's pick a nominee that's worth working hard to get elected and worth fighting for. Let's pick a nominee that we can get excited about.

The most electable candidate will be the one we select based on our principles. Because despite what we hear in the media, our principles are the traditional American values that made this country great, will make it great again, and which the majority of Americans still believe in... and will vote for when given the opportunity.

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