Longtime conservative activist Richard Viguerie says despite a century of conservatives mostly being in the backseat of the Republican Party, they can regain control of the party and the key levers of power in the next two election cycles if they take advantage of the opportunity.
A key tactic in that plan could well be the conservative embrace of libertarians, including a slot on the national ticket for Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
Viguerie is the pioneer of direct mail political marketing and still runs his American Target Advertising firm. He is also chairman of ConservativeHQ.com and author of the new book “Takeover: The 100-Year War for the Soul of the GOP and How Conservatives Can Finally Win It.”
In his book, Viguerie explains that he believes the GOP is ripe for big pickups this year and possibly in 2016. But he says the only way to take advantage of the opportunity is to have the right candidates on the ballot.
“I paraphrase James Carville from 1992, who said over and over and over to Democrats, ‘It’s the economy, stupid. It’s the economy, stupid.’ So my paraphrase of that to conservatives, particularly, tea-party conservatives, is, ‘It’s the primaries, stupid. It’s the primaries,’” he said.
“We can see that a wave is building out there that is going to sweep a lot of Democrats out of office, and it could be a wave of tsunami proportions. But if all that happens is when this wave sweeps Democrats out in this election, if it just brings in more big-government Republicans … we will have wasted the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Viguerie, who noted candidates can still file in many federal, state and local races around the country.
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Richard Viguerie:
But while Viguerie said conservatives can accomplish their goals in short order, they need to approach the situation in the right way to succeed. Viguerie claims winning over voters requires essentially the same process as any good marketing campaign.
His firm follows an approach known as Viguerie's Four Horsemen, which highlights the marketing tenets of position, differentiation, benefits and brand.
"The position is nothing more than a hole in the marketplace. What hole in the marketplace can you occupy? Differentiation is what you do publicly to differentiate yourself from everybody else out there. The third is benefit. What benefit do you bring to the voters if they vote for you? Brand is a culmination of the first three. It's what makes you singular, what makes you unique," he said.
But for any marketing message to be effective, it has to be delivered effectively. Viguerie admits that in the wake of Ronald Reagan, conservatives have struggled to find people who can articulate their vision well.
"It's been a mystery as to why for the last 50 years that I've been involved in politics at the national level, why conservatives have had such few leaders. We've had some spokesmen but very leaders other than Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan and a few others. For whatever reason, things are changing now in recent years, in large extent due to the arrival of the tea party. I think our future rests heavily on the shoulders of the tea party," he said.
In "Takeover," Richard Viguerie details the storied history of the battle for the soul of the Republican Party and outlines the steps for conservatives to win the civil war in the GOP and govern America by 2017.
Viguerie believes Republicans cannot win national elections against Democrats only on the traditional Republican base issues of the economy, national defense and social conservatism. He said tea-party activists can take the movement to the "next level" and attract more voters than the party has in the past.
Within that movement, Viguerie sees Sens. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Mike Lee as very effective spokesmen for conservatism. He believes Govs. Rick Perry, Scott Walker and Mike Pence have the same ability to explain that vision from the state level.
But what message actually unifies conservatives? With different factions of the GOP at odds over the U.S. role in the world, others debating whether defending traditional marriage is still a winning issue and all sorts of economic visions being suggested, what exactly brings them all together? Viguerie said it's time to welcome libertarians to the fight.
"Recently the libertarians have been growing in strength, and we see that represented best politically by Ron Paul and now his son, Rand Paul. I think it's time for conservatives to reach out to libertarians and see if we can't reach some common ground," he said.
That common ground, according to Viguerie, may well be a plum spot on the 2016 GOP ticket for Sen. Paul.
"I think that it's entirely possible that Rand Paul will be on the Republican ticket, either as president or vice president in 2016," Viguerie said. "If you bring the three legs of the Reagan coalition together, plus the tea party and then are able to combine it with the libertarians, you've got almost an unbeatable coalition for the 2016 election."