Clear Principles Win Elections
The political choice between ideological purity and "big tent" coalition building is inherently false. Success requires both. Just as businesses need a long-term vision and attention to minute detail and football teams need hulking linemen and fleet-footed receivers, political majorities need moderates and ideologues.
But any businessman or football coach can tell you that success comes from the inside out. The detail men can't make decisions without an understanding of the company's mission, and the receivers never get their hands on the ball if the linemen don't know their job. Similarly, a political party can't build a big tent without it being anchored to clear ideological principles.
This goes for Republicans and Democrats. It's easy to forget just watching cable TV, but the two parties do not exist solely to oppose each other. At their best, Republicans and Democrats represent and advocate for two very different worldviews. To succeed, a party must persuade voters to reject the other party's worldview and support its own. But this is only possible if the party actually has a worldview.
For Republicans, that worldview was summed up by
This litmus test wasn't a call to purity or extremism--just the opposite. Reagan was endorsing the broadest and most inclusive definition of a Republican imaginable. If a Republican didn't believe in these basic things, why would he call himself a Republican anyway?
Democrats have a corresponding set of bedrock principles, too, like abortion rights and income redistribution. If Republicans suddenly advocated massive tax hikes on small businesses, or Democrats suddenly called for overturning Roe v.
Governing requires compromise, but elevating compromise itself to a principle is like building a house on sand.
Republican politicians in particular must insist on certain principles--especially economic freedom and limited government--because every institution in
Clear distinctions. The only way for economic conservatives to enact policies according to their broadest, most basic principles is to fight unflinchingly for them. Republicans lost in 2006 and 2008 because they didn't. On their watch, government grew faster than it had under
To win again, the
For the first time in years, the
Governing requires compromise, but raising it to a principle is like building a house on sand.
Former Indiana Rep.
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Clear Principles Win Elections | Politics
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