The Republicans have no narrative, at least not yet. They aren’t in the game. Their party is immersed with presidential hopefuls that compete among themselves. They’re not crafting cohesive messages that can capture voter interest. They need a candidate to do that. Hope that arrives faster than before so the party can disarm their opposition, not each other.
The debacle of 2012 should show the GOP that it can’t run a Seinfeld-like campaign — a campaign about nothing. Chris Caldwell summed it up: Where two candidates argue over values, the public may prefer one to the other. But where only one candidate has values, he wins, whatever those values happen to be.
Romney had no substantive narrative. He was mostly reactive, not proactive. He was weak though many in the electorate knew he was the better man. We squirmed because he couldn’t make the case for himself. He was badly managed. Obama hired shrewd handlers and ran successful campaigns predicated on lies using technologies finest offerings. Their campaigns weren’t comparable. Romney seemed unaware of what was required to win even from himself.
Elections are won with smears, half-truths and outright lies all bundled into brief sound bytes. That is certainly what gets the attention of the low information voter. And the Democrats have mastered mudslinging. The GOP simply doesn’t engage. The age of 30-minute talking points that required rapt attention has passed. Today’s average voter has a short attention span, bombarded by a constant stream of fleeting messages and sound bytes. Superficiality rules the day. Obama’s speeches are designed for people with a third-grade education. Ethics and decency feel remote as if from another time. This is the conundrum the Republican party finds itself in. Their strategy must be focused on capturing an informed public with pithy information-rich messages that resonate both intellectually and emotionally. Narratives that grab your attention and really matter. Many wait to hear those things. They’re hungry for it. Why not use parts of the Democratic playbook to even the playing field? It works.
Scott Walker’s advice to the new GOP majority in Washington: Craft its own “positive reform agenda” that gives voters a reason to choose Republicans, rather than merely vote against the status quo. Regardless of what President Obama will support, Mr. Walker urges national Republicans “to set the table for what I hope will be a conservative presidential candidate who can finish the connection.”
Are they doing that?
Walker also offered Romney good advice on how to win the election. Romney ignored it. He took the high road in a dirty fight and was beaten soundly by Obama and the media machine.
Running a class campaign won’t take you there. Murky waters must be traversed. Getting down and dirty which doesn’t equate to being down and dirty, is sometimes necessary to get your message across. Unsuccessful approaches must be discarded. The times have changed.