“And in the few moments we have left, I want to talk right down to Earth in a language that everyone here can easily understand.” – Malcolm X
“I exploit you; still you love me. I tell you one and one makes three.” – Sarah Palin Corey Glover
Anyone who knows me knows I’m a big fan of pro wrestler CM Punk, who through his entrance music has re-introduced the Living Colour classic “Cult of Personality” to an entire generation. To this day, the song has one of the sickest guitar licks in rock and/or roll. It’s also starts off with the Malcolm X quote I started off this post with. The more and more I’d listen to the song during this election cycle (which was daily because it’s on my “wake the f*** up” playlist), the more it settled in as perfect advice for Republicans.
I started thinking about this about a month ago, when all of us on the right found ourselves arguing and attacking each other over a disagreement on a parliamentary procedure. While we were fighting over whether “defund” or “delay” was the cooler d-word, the Democrats were telling people we shut down the government. In a battle of Senate procedure versus “The Tea Party Extremists Shut Down the Government,” the latter resonated with the American people not only because it was a simple message, it was directed to voters as a whole while we were arguing over a smaller support base who react mainly to people they already love telling them what they want to hear.
This was a losing message across the board, that – purely from a political standpoint – we lucked out on when the government opened back up and ObamaCare turned into an even bigger debacle than some of us could possibly have imagined (which I know is no consolation to anyone who has lost their insurance, lost their job, or both).
Elsewhere across the country, away from cable news and political bloggings, there were two people running for local office: a guy in his 60s and a girl in her early 20s. Both Republican, both running in a state that had been taught to hate Republicans even before the shutdown. That didn’t stop them from meeting all the voters (not just the ones who loved them – that’s key) they could every day, and not talking to them but listening and talking with them. They’d listen to voters’ concerns and talk with them about how their solutions – their Republican/conservative solutions – would improve their lives regarding taxes, jobs, cost of living, etc. They’d also do so in a way that showed not all on the right are the folks you see on TV setting their hair on fire and flailing their arms around. They spoke down-to-Earth in a way that their neighbors could understand.
In the end, the girl knocked off a 4-term incumbent and the guy overcame a 2-1 disadvantage in party affiliation and drove voter turnout to where it was higher than it was in last year’s presidential election. People saw similar results across the country. My County Executive for example, campaigning the same way, beat his liberal opponent so badly the guy resorted to blaming voters for being too stupid to know any better (not in those words, of course, but the context was clear).
We win arguments on Twitter when we out nitpick the other person over buzzwords.
We win elections when we talk with people in their language and present solutions. Simple as that.