A Majority of Voters Want New GOP Leadership so the Old Ones May Want to Try Some New Tactics

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

After losing two elections in a row and posting a disappointing result in the 2022 midterms, it appears the McLeaders of the GOP will remain in place. Mitch McConnell will continue to lead the minority in the Senate, and Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel announced she will run to lead the party through 2024. Politico reports that a majority of the committee has already pledged to support her. Kevin McCarthy has a more fraught path to becoming Speaker of the House, but if he agrees to some baseline demands from the Freedom Caucus, he may find his way to the 218 votes needed after winning a very narrow majority in the House.

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Most Congress Critters are either content with the current leadership or too afraid to rock the boat. One exception is Chip Roy (R-Texas), who nominated Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) for speaker and has spoken out consistently about the specific things a Republican House majority needs to do. A small group of senators also sought a delay in selecting the minority leader but did not garner enough support. A new poll from Convention of States Action (COS) and the Trafalgar Group shows that a majority of voters agree with Roy and the senators looking for a delay.

Only 5.1% of Republican voters say that new party leadership is unnecessary. By contrast, 73.4% want new congressional leadership. Just as important, unaffiliated voters mirror Republicans’ preference for new leadership, with 73.4% looking for new leaders. These are the persuadable voters that Republicans relied on to win a majority of the popular vote nationally in the midterms. While this three-to-four-point lead over Democrats did not translate to more seats in the House, the GOP must build on that performance in 2024.

An earlier COS and Trafalgar poll showed that Republican messaging did not persuade voters. McConnell gave up early, telling America that a majority in the House was more likely than one in the Senate. At times, it almost appeared he was working at cross purposes with Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who led the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). In any case, no united message other than “we aren’t the Democrats” was pitched to voters as a basis to earn the Senate majority. Individual candidates ran compelling races, but at times, McConnell didn’t support them financially or rhetorically.

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McCarthy tried harder. He rolled out the “Commitment to America,” which contained some things many voters support, such as energy independence and parental rights in education. While a clear majority said they were more likely to vote for candidates who supported these policies, only a plurality felt McCarthy made a convincing case during his speech on the platform. COS President Mark Meckler said at the time, “When we polled two of the key proposals in the ‘Commitment to America’ voters responded positively and showed support. Voters like what Republicans are proposing, they just don’t believe the GOP sells it well enough.”

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Marcus Pittman, CEO of Loor.tv appears to agree that Republicans have a messaging problem. According to the company’s website, Loor seeks to fight woke culture with great storytelling by crowdfunding films “unfiltered by Hollywood or church ladies.” On LinkedIn, after the midterms, Pittman posted:

Facts don’t care about your feelings, but feelings don’t care about facts.

One of the reasons the GOP didn’t have a massive red wave like they expected is because conservatives still don’t understand that the left’s stories move people emotionally more than all the facts and data that people actually care about.

Who cares about inflation, and a terrible economy if I’m helping to do my part to stop global warming so that cities won’t be flooded? I can sacrifice for the good of others right?

Who cares about being pro life if some poor mother is going to be unable to feed their child?

The stories, even though they are not true, move people to the polls more than talk radio and news programs do.

Humans are not just rational creatures, they are emotional ones as well.

We should invest in good, true and beautiful stories as a means to better make the case for conservative values.

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If the GOP learned nothing else from Donald Trump, it should have learned that marketing matters. No matter what you think of the former president or his current candidacy, the video “A Nation in Decline” is a fantastic production that uses imagery and storytelling to convey the difference between Trump’s America and Biden’s. When forced into a virtual convention, Trump’s RNC presented a polished production full of compelling stories. From teary-eyed Cuban American Maximo Alvarez’s warning of the dangers of authoritarianism to an official pardon for reformed felon-turned-activist Jon Pounder, it was a masterful production full of emotional tales.

Roy’s impassioned stories of parents who have lost their children to the fentanyl flowing over our border make a better case for border security than replacement theory. And even though he lost, Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters’s vision of an American Dream accessible to younger Millennials and Gen Z is compelling. And to support restricting gender transition surgeries, Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene gave a platform to detransitioner Chloe Cole to tell her story. The way these GOP politicians make their case matters to voters.

Current GOP leaders have the “what” down. They desperately need to build their skills to convey “why” it matters. Compelling stories can fill that gap for voters if our leaders learn to tell them.

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