Warning to Republicans: 2016 won’t be like last night

Warning to Republicans: 2016 won’t be like last night

A couple months ago, I pushed back on the notion that Republicans needed to craft big proactive policy proposals in order to win the midterms.

Just running against Obama, I reasoned, was enough. Nothing good could come from getting too “in the weeds.” Not everyone agreed; there a good natured, if spirited and intellectual, debate about this. But I’m pretty sure my viewpoint was confirmed by the midterm results.

The problem, of course, is that Republicans — having taken my strategic advice — managed to win the election without winning the argument (their only mandate, I suppose, is to be different from the president).

Now, this is not an unprecedented thing (it happened to Democrats in 2006), but Republicans must now be careful not to overreach — not to pretend the American public, by virtue of the drubbing Democrats received last night, suddenly agrees with every conservative public policy proposal. Because they don’t. And even if the voters who weighed in Tuesday night were meaning to endorse conservative policies, they are hardly representative of the voters who will show up to vote in the 2016 presidential election — much less the general public.

 

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