A Republican Game Plan

In The Race Card, a book examining the influence of racial stereotypes in manipulating election results, Tali Mendelberg’s analysis applies as well to voting patterns in general. “Norms and consciousness,” she explains, are the “necessary and missing factors” in shaping electoral response. The extent to which the individual feels that his self-understanding or desired identity resonates with the party’s implicit message and nature significantly conditions the way he votes. In other words, it is not only a question of policy compatibility but of an internal norm, a tacit or latent identification of the voter’s ideal self with the party’s, and its representative’s, manifested character.

This is why many potential Republican voters may sit out an election or, from a reaction of frustration or resentment, cast their ballots for the opposition. For they do not see their self-image reflected in the stance of the Republicrat who advances such policies as amnesty for illegals, entitlement spending, pro-choice abortion, hospitality for unvetted refugees, green energy boondoggles, carbon taxes to combat non-existent global warming, and the social leprosy of Islamic accommodation. Blue Republicans only kindle a feeling of disappointment or betrayal in those who would in optimal circumstances be natural constituents.

What most politicians forget is that the voter essentially votes for himself. Regarding himself as insightful, trustworthy and unafraid, his candidate must strike him as replicating these qualities. Thus, a Republican campaigner who fearlessly embraces the core tenets—what we might call the intrinsic platform—of his party’s history, or at the very least is not reluctant to be upfront, vocal and vigorous in disseminating his message despite the dead hand of political correctness, stands a good chance of succeeding.

Indeed, the Republicans can take a page from Donald Trump, whether or not he is a true Republican or, as some believe, a masterful opportunist, or even an inveterate bungler. His theatrical presence on the national stage has become indispensable, irrespective of his party’s nomination or rejection. Trump refuses to apologize, does not cater to special interests and ethnic groups, challenges the liberal media, and refuses to bow to political correctness. Tom Trinko puts it succinctly: “Trump has shown that voters like it when Republicans don’t act as though they have to be afraid of telling the truth, in harsh terms, about Democrats.” This is a winning modus operandi and Republicans should get on board rather than, as commentator G. Murphy Donovan deplores, “mimic the Democrat left” that has embraced “fiscal collapse or unilateral cultural surrender” or both.