It’s a big presidential election year, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.
Meanwhile, it seems, the two parties have finally produced some viable candidates with real differences between them – starkly contrasting views.
One of the things voters consider when they look at their options in primaries is which candidate will have more appeal to members of the opposite party.
This is a tough one for Republicans, because it’s really hard to understand the mentality of Democrats.
- Democrats believe oil company profits of 4 percent on a gallon of gas are obscene, but the government taxing the same gallon at 15 percent isn’t. How do you reason with that?
- Democrats believe the government will do a better job spending the money you and I earn that you or I would. How do you reason with that?
- Democrats believe freedom of speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.
- Democrats believe making it hard for law-abiding citizens to own firearms makes us all safer.
- Democrats believe there’s nothing wrong with terminating the lives of millions of unborn babies, but every death row inmate’s life is worth protecting.
- Democrats believe it’s better to pay billions of dollars for oil to foreigners who hate us rather than drill in America because of “global warming.” But if there is really “global warming,” what different does it make who’s doing the drilling?
- Democrats believe the greatest existential threat to mankind is climate change and that we should fundamentally reorder our economy to prevent it.
- Democrats understand the purpose of locks on their doors and fences around their own property, but don’t think having secure national borders makes any sense.
These are not just bad ideas that require refuting. These positions are evidence of widespread inability to process data rationally. These widely held notions are symptoms of severe mass psychosis. These views suggest more than half the population have lost the ability to reason for themselves.
That raises the question of how you persuade people who hold such views to consider voting for a non-Democrat.
Can it be done?
It has been done in the past successfully.
While some political pros suggest educating the public cannot be done in election campaigns, I disagree.
I say it can be done, and I would suggest I am living proof of it.
In 1980, Ronald Reagan faced seemingly impossible odds in his bid for the presidency. He was vying for the Republican nomination against George H.W. Bush and was being viciously attacked for his ideas. It was Bush, for instance, who first characterized Reagan’s economic ideas as “voodoo economics.”
But Reagan didn’t moderate his views. He didn’t promise he’d create new government programs as president to woo constituencies with freebies. He promised instead that he would unleash the engines of free enterprise and expand the economy that was mired in recession.
He used every speech and every debate to challenge the political establishment, including his own party’s tired and stale rhetoric, and painted an optimistic picture for expanding liberty as well as prosperity.
Back then, I was what you would characterize today as a “progressive Democrat.” I thought Jerry Brown would be a great president. I was a member of the elite establishment press that thought government had all the answers to our most pressing problems.
I wanted to understand these cockamamie ideas Reagan was espousing.
So I began to read the books that helped form his ideas – with the notion of refuting them.
I began to read the periodicals he read – again, so I could argue more effectively against those ideas.
What I found was disturbing, but also enlightening. Reagan was right.
I was not alone. Millions of other Democrats like me ended up supporting Reagan, if not in 1980, when he won his first landslide, but certainly in 1984 when he won a bigger landslide.
So what’s the secret to success for the eventual Republican nominee in 2016?
Very simple. Do what Reagan did. Challenge the irrational views of most Democrats with facts and truth.
You won’t win them all over. But you will win many if the ideas are communicated effectively – and with a smile on your face.
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