Many years back I voted for Reagan and Bush 1. This year I spent election day making phone calls to get out the vote for Obama. The Republicans have lost me as a voter until they make major changes to the party, so here's my take
1) Can the negativity. As a PA (Pennsylvania?) voter, I got tons of mail telling me to vote for Barack Obama- he'll lower my taxes, he'll help uninsured people, he'll bring me a moon full of green cheese. I got tons of mail telling me not to vote for Obama because he was a secret Muslim socialist terrorist. I'm not really sure who the other guy in the election was- I never heard anything about him or his policies.
Folks, the divide and conquer, get out the base and fearmonger your way to 50.1% of the vote method is *dead*. It should have died after the vile attacks on Senator McCain's family in the 2000 SC primary, but for some odd reason McCain decided to pal around with the same guys who slandered his adopted daughter. I have two adopted kids who look a lot like Bridget- why would I *ever* vote for a candidate from a party that would do that?
Obama offered something positive. You might not like what he offered, but at least he put it out there. McCain ran on nothing but “Don’t vote for the scary guy”
2) Run on ideas, not personalities. I hear lots of talk about Palin in 2012, Jindal in 2012, yet nowhere do I hear a discussion of what they believe in. The Republican party used to be a party of ideas. There’s a great heritage of conservative thought from the early days of Buckley and Goldwater. What happened? We’ve let Bush pervert the idea of conservatism to the point where a guy who runs up a huge federal deficit, creates badly designed massive federal programs like the Medicare drug benefit and who follows a highly interventionist foreign policy is considered a conservative. Hunh? If I want an enormous federal government I’ll vote Democratic- at least they have a clue how to run it.
3) Ignore Rush Limbaugh, Hannity and the theocrats when it comes to those ideas. Running on “We hate gays, we hate abortions, we hate sex ed, we hate stem cell research, we hate evolution, we hate educated elitists” ticket sounds great when you look at turning out the ~30% of the electorate that’s firmly in the Dark Ages, but the rest of the world has moved on, including most of the young voters. Yes, I know abortion is the hot button item- but maybe we could spend a bit of that energy coming up with sane policies to reduce teen pregnancy, to encourage adoption and to help young mothers? Hint- the rest of the first world does this, and they have lower abortion rates than we do.
Drop the gay thing entirely. This is a long term massive loser- young voters simply don’t care about this, and in 20-30 years you’re going to look like the folks who argued for Virginia in Loving v. Virginia.
4) Start working slowly and quietly, but *now*. When the democrats put up stuff you don’t like, don’t scream and yell “Socialist!”. Instead, offer a *coherent*, intelligent counterproposal. Work to remove the worst chunks of the legislation, and take credit for killing the ugly pork and overreaches. Do *not* filibuster everything- all this will do is give the Democrats 61 senate seats in 2010.
I’ve got more, but this is too long already, so we can start there.
It's a good start. One hopes Michael Steele is listening.