2010 Election About Big Things

Republicans should hammer big themes — the loss of jobs, the poor health of the economy, reckless spending, increasing the size/scope of government, and tax increases — and avoid getting bogged down in policy details this campaign season.

Republican strategist Glen Bolger (full disclosure: a partner in my wife’s firm and a family friend) analyzes a recent poll he did for American Crossroads in 13 Battleground Senate states and offers this analysis:

[T]his election is about big things — the loss of jobs, the poor health of the economy, reckless spending, increasing the size/scope of government, and tax increases. Republicans should resist the temptation to talk about every issues — stick to the ones in the previous sentence, because that’s what voters are focused on. Avoid the temptation of small ball — casework for incumbents, foreign policy (barring some unforeseen/unpredictable major incident), and other issues not listed (the jury is still out on illegal immigration in many parts of the country — it polls well, but it is not clear whether it is a vote motivator among Independents).

Yes, Republican candidates need to have ideas on what they will do if they are elected, but the main focus is on prosecuting the failures and overreaches of the last two years — and the need for a check and balance on those overreaches. If we are not talking about those issues, and the need for change, then we are flushing the campaign’s money away.

It’s generally true that elections are referenda on the status quo and that voters care about big themes.  But it’s even more the case this year than most:  the economy is in a shambles and people are frustrated with their government.   Debating over relatively minor details is a welcome distraction for the in party.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2010, Public Opinion Polls, Quick Takes, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. reid says:

    This post just reminds me how sad our political system has become.  Hire the best pollsters, ad-men, and handlers, say the right things, and you too can be elected!  No one will ever dig deeper than our simple talking points list of Big Things, just keep repeating ’em!  Bleah.
    And as I write this, Fred Thompson is on TV scaring me into thinking that my taxes will go up 10%, even though the Democrats want to retain the tax cuts for most people.  Wonderful.

  2. sam says:

    “Yes, Republican candidates need to have ideas on what they will do if they are elected”
    Yeah, well, assuming they win in 2010, there’s the problem for 2012: “But you guys said you would….”