Things are looking good for Republicans in the coming elections. So sayeth the pundits. I’m not linking to any stories or polls here. You can Google them and find a bunch. The upshot is that because of President Barack Obama’s failures, most notably with the Affordable Care Act, and his spectacular lies (“If you like your plan, you can keep it….”), the citizenry is not inclined to be sympathetic to him or his party.
Nonetheless, Republicans shouldn’t start counting any unhatched chickens. Others have pointed this out, and so have I on occasion, but here’s a quick roundup of five things the GOP needs to be prepared for in the coming election:
- New battles in the war on women: Even as women become disenchanted with Obama and his party, they still have to be wooed to the GOP side of the ideological divide. Dems know this, and they’ll happily twist and spin every malapropism, every bad analogy, every comment on abortion, in fact, coming from a Republican’s mouth into something that supposedly shows the GOP doesn’t understand or care about women’s issues. Be prepared, Republicans. It’s not just a matter of watching your “tone,” as RNC Chair Reince Priebus suggests. It’s a matter of fighting back and fighting back hard when the battle begins. On this, I salute Sen. Rand Paul for bringing up the Monica Lewinsky story. Nobody wants to relive that, but it is a way of reminding people of the Dems’ problem with women–they won’t condemn a man like Clinton as long as he supports abortion rights.
- Scurrilous charges: Remember how Dem allies called Governor Mitt Romney a murderer? Sure, they didn’t actually say he’d murdered a Bain Capital employee’s wife, but they strongly implied it. And the Romney team, perhaps shocked at the ridiculousness of the charge, didn’t adequately respond. See Number One point above: Be prepared, Republicans, to come back strong in the face of even absurd charges, if they get repeated a lot. This is one of the reasons, by the way, that I think Governor Chris Christie was such a strong contender in many people’s eyes — he fights back.
- Fraud: James O’Keefe exposed the possibility of voter fraud with his Project Veritas videos, but he was dismissed as a partisan. Does it matter? He caught people at polling places very willing to let someone vote who wasn’t who he said he was. The left has co-opted the Voter ID movement as a war on minorities. The right has to counter with O’Keefe videos and more. Don’t be afraid to stand behind these compelling pieces of evidence. It doesn’t matter who was behind the camera, if the events were true. Republicans have to keep pushing for cleaner elections.
- Stupid stuff very minor GOP officials do or say: If you have liberal friends on Facebook or other social media, you know that any time a GOP official says or does something dumb, it doesn’t matter if the numbskull is just a temporary assistant dog catcher, the news of the goof will spread like wildfire. Take some of that fire and fight with it, GOP. There are plenty of examples of Dem slip-ups of this kind. Just start throwing them around, too — to illustrate that stuff happens…in both parties.
- Finally, beware of phony candidates: Robert Sarvis, the libertarian candidate for governor in Virginia, pulled nearly 7 percent of the vote, but how libertarian was he? Some conservatives thought: not so much. Democrats are well aware of the ideological debate going on the Republican party, and they’d be foolish not to capitalize on it in any way they can. Unfortunately, there are legal ways to do so, such as backing a bad conservative in an open primary. Republicans have to be vigilant about the possibility of candidates saying they are one thing, only to be spoilers in close races.
That’s it for now. As I said, others have written about this, too. I’m sure more possibilities will present themselves as time marches on. The important lesson for conservatives to remember is this one: voters might dislike Democrats right now, but that doesn’t mean they’re in love with Republicans.