Michael Moore recently put out five keys to a Democrat victory in the midterm elections on his website. His winning keys ranged from "growing a backbone" to "supporting a moratorium on foreclosures." In that spirit, I wanted to give Republicans five keys to victory.
And unlike Mike, mine actually might work.
1) Let the Democrats go negative, but respond with a positive. In judo, a student learns to use an opponent's force against himself/herself. This election season, the Democrats are facing an uphill battle, so their natural inclination (having exhausted the possibility that they might run on their records) is to go negative. However, that doesn't mean the GOP needs to follow suit. Running a positive ad after a negative one from the Left will have a positive effect, in my opinion. Take Christine O'Donnell's ad responding to what Leftists like Bill Maher have said about her. It was simple, to the point, and barely referenced politics at all. Even an ad with a "soft negative" like Carly Fiorina's ad using footage of Barbara Boxer asking a soldier to call her "Senator" instead of "ma'am" would work.
2) Don't assume the TEA Party will vote Republican. A common theme with the Right these days is to call for "party unity" over voting for a TEA Party candidate we can support. That's what gave us McCain/Palin 08, another victory for Arlen Specter, and moderate Republicans getting control of the party. Yeah, how'd that work out for ya? The TEA Party may be made up of Republicans in great numbers, but that doesn't mean they'll vote Republican out of reflex. The GOP needs to take some stock in what the TEA Parties represent and work that back into the platform going forward. Saying you're a "compassionate conservative" that votes for continued funding of the Department of Education is nice, but making it so that parents have more say over curricula than some bureaucrat in Washington, DC, is nicer.
3) Make the Left run on the issues. You know the Left is going to go personal this year, but that's because they're desperate to avoid talking issues. With an electorate looking for more than typical politics, give them issues to discuss. Make a Democrat Representative like Alan Grayson defend his stance on health care reform. Make Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid explain the benefits of the stimulus package. And watch as they will do anything in their power to avoid giving a straight answer. They have no substance, folks. Time to step up and make the campaign about what the American people want.
4) Take command. Democrats love to say the Republicans are the "Party of No" because Republicans haven't done a good job at widespread articulation of their alternatives. It's almost like Republicans are ashamed to engage in the exchange of ideas, mainly because the Left has done such a masterful job at twisting the truth. In situations like that, you don't get frustrated and cede the battleground to the enemy. You charge ahead and you fight for the ground you're standing on. Democrats counted on Republicans to be lazy and still cowed by their connections to George W. Bush, but with an electorate that no longer cares what Bush did by and large and a Democrat Party so eager to bring up Bush in lieu of talking about the current President, now is a golden opportunity to take back the intellectual and rhetorical high ground.
5) Fight for every last vote. Conventional thinking on the Right has it that certain groups won't vote Republican, so they're written off (case in point: blacks). Yet, even with overwhelming odds like that, there are people seriously rethinking their support for Obama and Democrats in general. That's a good sign for the GOP, especially going into 2012. Closer to home, as it were, you might be able to sway some votes from the Independent and conservative Democrat side by engaging them, giving them some kind of sign that you might actually care about this country and have ideas on how to fix it. Even if a voter is 99% sure he or she is going to vote Democrat in November, there's still 1% that can be used as a foothold.
It may be short notice for the GOP, but using these ideas in the home stretch could mean the difference between victory and defeat in several close races across this country.