The Democrats' weakness is that they are a coalition. GOP success will be in peeling coalition members away. Some members seem pretty wedded to the party - African Americans and possibly hispanics. It probably doesn't make sense putting a ton of effort here. Other members are more interesting. They include:
- Environmentalists, who have a ton of money but who are generally disliked by large numbers of voters. A play that increases this dislike will be in the GOP's interest.
- SWPL elite educated urban yuppies, the Ivy League crowd and higher education in general. These are the people most invested in Obama and his policies (it's a mistake to think that most of Obama's policies are that popular with the African American community).
- Unions, especially public employee unions. These are increasingly rapacious in their demands and the unfunded liabilities of most State's pension systems is a big fiscal wet blanket.
- Wall Street, which supported the Democrats by large majorities.
A lot of people have been despairing that the Democrats will always out pander the GOP, offering more "stuff" to buy votes, and so will always have a majority. If you think of "offering more" as including "stopping financial loss" then this simply isn't true. The Democrats' coalition demands a lot of things that raise the price of all sorts of things for Joe Everybody. Promising to stop this and roll it back will simultaneously win populist votes and hurt the Democrat coalition. Consider:
- Environmental regulation raises the cost of gasoline, raises the price of electricity and winter heating, and drives factories to move to China. Automotive fuel standards raises the cost of new cars. Other regulations mean that toilets won't flush and light bulbs cost $10 each.
- SWPL busy bodies want to tell everyone what they have to eat, what they can't eat, what they can do, and what they can't do. The Republic does not lack for Ivy League types convinced that they're better and smarter than Joe Everyman, and don't hesitate to tell him what to do.
- Public Employee Union contracts are already on the agenda even in deep blue states like Wisconsin. I don't need to belabor this. Add to this the fact that schools are generally terrible, and crushing student debt destroying Joe's kid's prospects.
- Bank bailouts and regulations (hello Dodd-Frank) encourage "too big to fail" where Joe Everybody gets to pay for Wall Street fat cats.
That's what the GOP should focus on. Convince Joe that they're about making his life better, that they're for the Middle Class instead of all those despised hippie Professors and tree huggers.
And the great thing about this is that there are a million stories that will personalize this conflict of world visions - people who couldn't afford gas, people who had to move because local taxes went up too high, people whose kids didn't get educated, the return of Debtor's Prison for student loans (Joe's kids will have a worse life than he did), factories that had to move overseas, Wall Street fat cats sucking off the public teat, the list is never ending.
It will tug at the heartstrings of the voters that the GOP wants to win from the Democrats. The people opposed to these pro-Middle Class policies will be entirely unsympathetic and ripe for demonization: trust fund environmentalist big wigs, humorless Ivy League busy bodies, Union fat cats, Big Bankers, bureaucrats. Joe won't see any of those people as being on his side.
And so, the GOP platform becomes simple: We support policies that will benefit the Middle Class, and oppose policies that will hurt the Middle Class. And they talk about the price of gas, the price of cereal, the price of new cars, the taxes that environmentalists want (Carbon, etc), out of control Union pensions, and Wall Street Democrat fundraisers.
Identify the top 10 most damaging regulations that hurt the Middle Class the most. Find some people who were hurt by them and tell their stories. Find more, and tell those stories. Make sure that the regulations are all ones dear to the heart of the Democrat coalition. Paint the Democratic Party as the party that wants to crush the Middle Class. Paint them as anti-populists, because most people like to see themselves as being in the Middle Class.
Quite frankly, this is so simple that it's hard to see how it would fail. It's child's play simple. It's so simple that even the Stupid Party probably can't screw it up too badly. Probably.