When I was a political consultant I was very wary of one thing, my own biases. I worked mainly in the Mid-Atlantic states. But I grew up in North Carolina and South Florida and went to college in Europe. My tastes and opinions were not of the Mid-Atlantic. So when I produced media and launched other campaign operations I asked myself, “Does this work for me or the voter?” Because the voter was my real customer, not myself.
I said the same thing around a campaign conference table. If we, the campaign leadership, were on board with something, that was fine. That is, as long as the actual target, the voters, also would have signed off on it. Because we should be trying to impress them, not ourselves.
This is something we should remind ourselves as Republicans, as we approach the next stage of party developments. If we engage in confirming our own biases and ignoring the majority, I say again, the majority, of American voters then we will stay out of the White House and other national power centers for the forseeable future. If we solely parrot our own opinions, we are only appealing to our own specific constituencies inside the party and to the party itself and not to the national number of voters we need to win. That’s why we must look for converts, not heretics.
Ronald Reagan said anybody who agrees with me 70 percent of the time is not my enemy. That’s why the current campaign in some Republican and former office holder circles to go after our own is politically insane. We have enough problems appealing to that majority of American voters we need to win, dealing with a hostile press, dealing with a viciously hostile cultural environment, for us to be tearing ourselves apart internally. That way, we do the Democrats’ work for them.
The current move against Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming is a perfect example. We did not appeal to a majority of American voters this last election cycle. Oh, but we did! You say, the Democrats just cheated! Look around and get over yourself. Do we have the House, Senate, or White House? What is the reality on the ground? Does it line up with your own biases? Thus, if we didn’t take that majority, shouldn’t we be expanding the tent, not constricting it? Shouldn’t Cheney be seen as representative of the opinion of many outside the party, and some inside, the very same people we need to form a majority? Doesn’t a campaign against her just remind voters of an episode that, as Republicans, we want them to forget?
It’s the same with current calls to throw out any Republican who hasn’t supported the president as of late. We need to move past the issues and the personalities of the last four years. Not only are they in the past and thus generally moot, but they can stop us from planning for the future because of an unnatural obsession with one recently failed politician. Like him or not, he’s in the past. The elections we need to win are in the future with voters who turned us down less than three months ago. We need to listen to them, the customers, and not merely focus on our internal biases and opinions. That is the only logical way to victory and an end to this administration in four years.