Monday, February 11, 2013

David Horowitz: How Republicans can win

David Horowitz: How Republicans can win

by Scott Johnson in 2012 Presidential Election, Democrats, Liberals, Republicans
I’ve known David Horowitz for more than 20 years, from the time he came through town with Peter Collier talking about their invaluable book Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts About the Sixties. As Jay Nordlinger has written, David was a leader of the New Left who became a leader of the fighting Reaganite Right: “He is a thinker and a doer, an intellectual and an activist. His mind ranges widely, and so do his books. He has written about politics and policy, of course. But he has also written about matters literary, cultural, and spiritual.” He remains a prolific writer and voluble observer.
David is the author, most recently, of the pamphlet “Go For the Heart: How Republicans Can Win.” David has granted us permission to publish it on Power Line. It may be a little long to read comfortably online, but David’s essay can easily be printed out and read at your leisure, as it deserves to be. David writes:
After voters re-elected an administration that added five trillion dollars to the nation’s debt, left 23 million Americans unemployed, surrendered Iraq to America’s enemy Iran, and enabled the Muslim Brotherhood to gain control of the largest country in the Middle East, the one lesson Republicans should agree on is that elections are driven by emotions, not reason. Moreover, when it comes to mobilizing emotions, Democrats beat Republicans hands down.
Worse, Republicans appear unable to learn from their losses. Year after year, Democrats accuse Republicans of the same imaginary crimes – waging wars on women, not caring about minorities, and inflicting pain on working Americans to benefit the wealthy. And year after year, Republicans have no effective responses to neutralize these attacks. Or to take the battle to the enemy’s camp.
In the 2012 election, Democrats attacked Republicans as defenders of the wealthy who are not paying their “fair share.” Republicans responded by deploring “class warfare rhetoric,” which does not answer the charge that Republicans are defending the wealthy and are uncaring. There are plenty of answers to these libels but Republicans don’t have them.
“Caring” is not one among many issues in an election. It is the central one. Since most policy issues are complicated, voters want to know above everything else just whom they can trust to sort out the complexities and represent them. Before voters cast their ballots for policies or values they want a candidate or party that cares about them.
How crucial is this concern? In the 2012 election, 70% of Asian Americans cast their ballots for Obama, even though Asians share Republican values, are family oriented, entrepreneurial, and traditional. Asian Americans voted for Obama because they were persuaded that he cared for minorities – for them, and Romney didn’t.
The Republican response to the Democrats’ attack (that’s “class warfare rhetoric”) doesn’t work because it’s an abstraction. “Class warfare rhetoric” has no human face; it’s about a political style. Criticizing the wealthy for “not paying their fair share” is a direct attack on an easily identified target, which is why so many wealthy taxpayers – including entertainment figures who are normally Democrats –were outraged by the slander. More importantly, the Democrats’ attack on the rich is an emotional appeal to those who are not rich. It tells them that someone cares about them.
Using the term “class warfare” is a polite way of discussing a problem, a habit Republicans seem unable to break. It avoids finger pointing – naming an adversary and holding him accountable. Elections are adversarial. They are about defeating opponents.
Elections are necessarily about “us” and “them.” Democrats are as adept at framing “them,” as Republicans are not. Democrats know how to incite envy and resentment, distrust and fear, and to direct these volatile emotions towards their Republican opponents. Meanwhile, Republicans are busy complaining about the style of the Democrats’ argument.
Republicans are defending the rich at your expense. Democrats are employing class warfare rhetoric. Which argument is going to grab voters more effectively? Which is going to make voters believe the candidate cares about them.
An exit poll conducted by CNN asked, “What is the most important candidate quality to your vote?” Among the four choices were, “Strong Leader,” “Shares Your Values,” “Has A Vision for the Future,” and “Cares about People.” Romney won the first three by more than 54%. But he lost “Cares About People” by 81-18%. That says it all.
The margin Romney lost by wasn’t insurmountable. ...

(use link for the entire well-worth-the-15-minutes article): http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/02/david-horowitz-how-republicans-can-win.php

(Here's how it ends):

The way for Republicans to show they care about minorities is to defend them against their oppressors and exploiters, which in every major inner city in America without exception are Democrats. Democrats run the welfare and public education systems; they have created the policies that ruin the lives of the recipients of their handouts. It’s time that Republicans started to hold Democrats to account; to put them on the defensive and take away the moral high ground, which they now occupy illegitimately. Government welfare is not just wasteful; it is destructive. The public school system in America’s inner cities is not merely ineffective; it is racist and criminal.
Democrats regard politics as a war conducted by other means. Their agenda is not to seek compromise over practical solutions to complex problems. It is to achieve power to dictate the fundamental transformation of American society into a socialist-redistributionist state. Democrats regard Republicans as enemies standing in the way of social justice and social progress. Every issue for them is a means to a greater end, which first of all is power, and beyond that the transformation of American society into a socialist-redistributionist state.
Because Democrats regard politics as war conducted by other means, they seek to demonize and destroy their opponents as the enemies of progress, of social justice and minority rights. Republicans can only counter these attacks by turning the Democrats’ guns around — by exposing them as the enforcers of injustice, particularly to minorities and the poor, the exploiters of society’s vulnerable and the reactionary proponents of policies that have proven bankrupt and destructive all over the world.
David invites readers to check out the the site of the organization he has established to disseminate the message of this essay: GoForTheHeart.org. David acknowledges the support of James Cowden in making possible the printing of this essay in pamphlet form.

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