All Politics is Local   Leave a comment

What holds up conservativism from sweeping the nation?

When my dad, the classical liberal, used to tease my mom and call her a “conservative”, she was one of a tiny group of self-described conservatives in America. In the 1960s, the entire national “convention” could have been held in the hockey arena in Fairbanks Alaska.

Things have changed. Today, 40-45% of the nation’s voters describe themselves as “conservative”. That makes us the largest voting bloc in the nation. But as I explained in my earlier post, mostly we’re supporting the Republican Party in electing moderate progressives who then give “conservatism” a bad name by acting in pretty liberal ways. The Republicans say we should moderate our positions in order to attract people, but becoming progressives does not seem like a viable way to advance the cause of conservatism. In fact, I could argue that is what we’ve been doing since the 1990s and look where we are today.

I don’t think our principles are the problem. Poll after poll says people are largely conservative on a whole host of topics. I think it is our communication of those principles that cause us difficulty. When the Republicans got waxed in the 2012 election, it seemed as if they might self-analyze, but they’ve decided to look more like Democrats, so conservatives need to start looking a lot more like conservatives than Republicans.

If, as a conservative you’re still hanging onto the GOP, there are some things to consider about the 2012 election. The Republicans lost the minority vote, the women’s vote, and the city vote, but they also lost a large number of conservatives – and then they lost the election. Conservatives are propping up the Grand Old Party and if we withdraw our support, poof, the GOP goes the way of the Whigs. In a 3-way election, if conservatives vote as a bloc, we win. But how do we pull that off?

The American Conservative Party has a good idea. Concentrate on local elections and let the federal level go for now. Why? Because the two major parties have a stranglehold on the federal election … for now. Ballot access laws prevent third parties from getting on the ballot in most states. However, by concentrating on each state individually, third parties can get on local school boards and city councils and then into state legislatures, so that by the time they declare for the Presidency they won’t be unknown to the people in at least a plurality of states.

All politics is local anyway and much of it is non-partisan, so that candidates do not have to overcome negative party images and simply run on the issues. If we can prove to our communities that conservatism works, then we can move onto transforming our state governments and then our nation.

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