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.