A victory this fall by the Republicans would damage the ability of the Democrats to push their agenda through Congress, but it wouldn’t lead to implementation of conservative values in national government. President Obama will be in office until 2013 and will enjoy the power of the veto pen.
Those who want to see conservative ideas implemented will need to look to the states where a solid Republican wave could bring in a Republican legislature and a Republican governor. Is the current crop of conservative candidates springing from the tea party movement ready to put their values into practice? In Idaho, the state party convention passed a slew of resolutions in support of conservative values, but at least one conservative state representative is worried they are failing to plan policies that will support the agenda.
Nationwide, many candidates are defined by the things they are against (i.e., ObamaCare, cap and trade, and amnesty), as well as by impractical ideas (ex: repealing the 17th Amendment, abolishing the Federal Reserve). But many will win this November, not only because of what they oppose, but because they’re not part of the Democratic Party.
What will the impact of hard-fought conservative victories be? Success will be short-lived if conservative victors find themselves asking the question Robert Redford’s character posed at the end of The Candidate after securing a term in the U.S. Senate:
What do we do now?
Conservatives candidates should have a governing plan. While the components will differ from state to state, these four conservative ideas are a good place to start.
1) Tax reform
Many state tax codes are anti-growth. For example, Ohio has a complex nine-bracket tax code, Oklahoma has seven brackets, and Iowa has six. Other states have high top tax brackets that punish success and discourage successful people from moving to the state, such as Iowa’s 8.98% top bracket.
The aim of conservative legislators should be to either flatten out the tax code by consolidating and reducing overall rates and eliminating deductions, or by eliminating the income tax altogether and relying on other sources of revenue, such as a sales tax to fund state operations. States like Florida and Texas already do this. Whatever approach is taken, it is vital that states governed by conservatives pass pro-growth tax codes.
2) Right-to-work and other checks on Big Labor
Right-to-work laws protect workers from being required to join a union or pay an agency fee as a term of employment. These laws protect the rights of individuals who don’t want their union dues going to the propagation of liberal ideas and candidates. This will reduce the influence of Big Labor, as many people will choose to leave labor unions or not become members if they’re not required to join a union or pay an agency fee as a condition of employment.
Striking a blow against unions is the right thing to do for the American economy.