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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Rust Belt

At The Daily Beast, Lloyd Green notes that the GOP will hold its convention in Cleveland and argues that it should focus on the Rust Belt, not just the Bible Belt.
Although Republican presidential candidates can’t seem to catch a break in the Midwest, the GOP still manages to win statewide races there, unlike California and New York which are lost causes and don’t look like they are coming back anytime soon.. Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania all have Republican governors, while Ohio and Pennsylvania each send a Republican senator to Washington, and Ohio’s John Boehner is the Speaker of the House.

Part of the national Republicans’ problem is cultural, part of it is regional, and part of it is programmatic, or lack of one to be clear. A campaign message that plays well at 11 o’clock on a Sunday morning in South Carolina is great for South Carolina, but it’s not what the Rust Belt wants to hear on Election Day. With Hillary Clinton waiting in the wings on the Democratic side, the Republicans need to recalibrate quickly. Betting on economic catastrophe is not a campaign strategy.

So instead of just Obama-bashing from now through 2016, the GOP should be talking programs. Musing about impeachment is both stupid and bad politics. Lest anyone need a refresher, impeachment cost the Republicans seats in the 1998 midterms, as well Newt Gingrich’s job as speaker.

Rather, the Republicans need to start talking about jobs, roads, and infrastructure. Contrary to what Jim DeMint and the Heritage Foundation may say, that stuff is as American as apple pie. Heck, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution expressly empowers Congress to establish roads. It is also a matter of political necessity if the Republicans want to expand their appeal beyond the usual suspects.