Under the headline, “DEAR REPUBLICANS: Here’s How To Not Be Hated By Minority Voters,” we find a story about how Christie has won Hispanic voters. It includes this:
Bert Aguilera (“like Christina,” he said), a Democratic-leaning independent originally from the Philippines, cited a favorable tax-sharing arrangement that has helped his home city of Seacaucus and Christie’s record of bipartisan compromise.
The compromise factor is key. Republican messages often appeal to a resentment of government that is very specific to white voters. Think of Republicans’ lame repetition of, “I built it!” at the 2012 Republican Convention. A message about working together to make government work better is a much more appealing beyond the party base — and it’s one that Christie has embraced on the campaign trail.
This is bad advice in many places in the country and in the nation as a whole.
First, if you want to appeal outside your base, then you have to find something that adds to the message that reaches your base rather than something that abandons your base. Democrats would love for Republicans to appeal “beyond the party base” in a way that loses them. That gives the advantage entirely to the Democrats.
Second, Republicans of the conservative, “libertarian,” or “tea party kind” are social entrepreneurs. They believe they are, as Rush Limbaugh likes to say, “on the cutting edge of societal evolution.” It is impossible to be such a Republican and not expect “resentment of government” to expand and grow in this nation. If you think that such a message only appeals to one ethnic group for some unchangeable reason, then you really don’t believe the message at all. Government can mask the pain it causes by giving gifts that help some ethnicities more than others, but as it degrades the economy, its promised benefits fail to deliver.
Third, it is simply not true that people can work together and make government better if that means the delivery of more benefits (bribes). That promise will eventually fail and come to be seen as a failure.
So Republicans would be silly and short-sighted to embrace “compromise” and feel-good slogans claiming that “we” can “come together” to make government work better. A message that will grow and expand is one that points out that people in society can genuinely come together and solve social problems without needing salvation from politicians. It may not always be easy. But anyone promising an easy way is usually a politician.
And a politician’s way will end up being much harder than he promises. Just remember you get to keep the plan if you like it and you get to keep your doctor if you want to do so.