The Missed Messaging Opportunity in 2018

A new book by Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer, The Hill To Die On, is a very interesting read overall. The book is not entirely about political campaigns, but there is one particularly interesting passage about the 2018 election cycle that demonstrates why Republicans lost in 2018.

Excerpt from page 285:

McCarthy’s solution was for the party to adopt a massive messaging shift, one that would come to define the 2018 election cycle: That morning he urged the dozens of Republicans gathered to forget the positive message on the economy that the GOP had publicly been touting. Instead, he implored them to go sharply negative on the issues that mattered the most: safety, and Democrats’ efforts to turn America toward socialism, destroy health care, and raise taxes. Why? Because his data showed that it worked, that’s why. McCarthy pointed out that positive messaging moved independent and college-educated women an average of 10.3 percent, while negative advertising moved them 13 percent.

Armed with data from the NRCC and other Republican political entities, McCarthy outlined a new strategy: attack, attack, attack. To win over swing voters and centrist Democrats, they should attack “government controlled, one-size-fits-all health care.” To win Republicans, “government-run” and “government takeover” should be the new watchwords. Never mind that Republicans had been in complete control of Washington for two whole years and were still walloping Democrats for their health care plan, a now-eight-year-old law that the GOP could not find the courage or the votes to repeal.

The authors make a good point in closing that second paragraph; rather difficult to run on more “repeal and replace” nonsensical rhetoric when the last “attempt” at it failed.

But there is a bigger point to what happened in 2018. There was no cohesive messaging about the tax cuts in 2018, which was something we kept pressing for in our podcast episodes during the election cycle last year. Very few candidates were good evangelists for the tax reform passage working and the economy improving.

When the Democrats started losing the argument on employment, as the unemployment number was dropping to new record lows monthly, they shifted to saying, “yeah but, wages are low,” well, in episode 22 we specifically discussed the fact that it took a little time for the economy to adjust, but wages were on the rise. Not only were wages increasing but benefit packages for employees were getting better, we discussed that in episode 10.

The point is, that the miracle that was taking place in the American economy was worth talking about, and instead the party leaders moved to the old standby tactics, rather than sharing with voters that they were the reason the miracle was happening, that they wanted to help expand the miracle in 2019 and 2020 and beyond.

Finally, the Republican party missed a huge opportunity on a conversation about Opportunity Zones (OZs). OZs were tucked away in the 2017 tax reform bill, around page 130 or so. And this concept has the ability to renew and revitalize neighborhoods and communities and it can put people to work immediately. Basically, every state was given a time frame to set aside some poverty-ridden areas to be designated as OZs. Then, investors are allowed to invest some money into these zones for a set amount of time, and during that time, the investors would not be penalized with capital gains taxes. So instead of investors pocketing this money, funds are able to be invested into new ventures in these high-poverty areas: new businesses, new infrastructure, new employment opportunities.

There is always 2019 and 2020 to have this conversation, I suppose…

Podcast 24

The Wall Street Journal recently profiled Republican Texas Congressman Will Hurd about how he managed to get re-elected in 2018 in a blueish district, going against the national outcome. Congressman Hurd’s story is great, but the closing of the article is a lesson for all Republicans moving forward in how to approach outreach and communicating with communities that might be new to us. In this episode, we explore what new approaches might look like, and why the old ones are useless.

The concluding portion of the article that was read in this episode:

He tells a story about his first visit to Eagle Pass, another border town. Mr. Hurd showed up to a tardeada, an afternoon party, where there were hundreds of people. At 6-foot-4 he’s hard to miss, and he recalls that the band stopped playing when he walked in. “Everybody asked the question: ‘Why are you here?’ ” he says. “My answer was, because I like to drink beer and eat cabrito”—roast kid goat—“too. And everybody laughed. And the second time I showed up, people actually shook my hand, all right? Third time I showed up, you’d have people walk by”—he drops to a conspiratorial whisper—“and be like, ‘I’m a Republican.’ Fourth time, people would talk about some of the problems that they had. Fifth time, I was able to talk about, ‘Hey, here’s the way we can solve it.’ ”

His share of the vote in that county has since risen from 18%, to 21%, to 27%. “Now, it’s not huge,” Mr. Hurd says, “but that delta is what makes up—you know, you put those together in 29 different places, and this is how you win.”

Podcast 23

Show Notes:

Dr. Vance Ginn was our guest, his website and his Twitter.



Podcast 22

Show Notes:

CNBC: Wages and salaries jump by 3.1%, highest level in a decade


Podcast 21

 

 

Show Notes:

Our guest was Dr. Vance Ginn. Visit his website, and follow him on Twitter.



Podcast 20

Show Notes:


Notice that the economy and taxes, are both viewed as extremely important.


 

Podcast 19

Show Notes:


Meanwhile, the economy is doing great and people are going back to work and investors are investing in America and its workforce, and what is Senator Cory Booker promising America? Ah yes, to put the impeachment of Justice Kavanaugh on the table.

Yahoo: Cory Booker says Kavanaugh impeachment shouldn’t be off the table

Podcast 18

Show Notes:

Drudge Report October 5, 2018 Employment Number

The entire episode of the NPR show Marketplace we excerpted from can be found here.



This applies to your campaign as well, whether local or for a federal office, educate your voters about the economy and about how tax policies work.

Podcast 17

Show Notes:

Democrats unveil their 2018 Campaign platform:

 

Followed by their 2018 and 2020 slogan:

Millions of people giving up Food Stamps:

Two good examples of sharing success stories from your community:

Podcast 16

Show Notes:

Texas Republicans, led by candidate Peter Flores, won a special election on Tuesday in the Texas State Senate. Hillary Clinton won this district by 12 points just 22 months ago, and Flores won by 6 points on Tuesday evening. This district has not been represented by a Republican in the State Senate since 1879. That’s right, 1879. Rutherford B. Hayes was president in 1879. And Albert Einstein, he of the theory of relativity and E=MC2, was born in 1879.

Nationally, Republicans should take heart from this victory and keep fighting. Do NOT fall for the media’s narrative of a “blue wave” or unicorn dust or anything else. Get out there and persuade the people on the fence, the people who decide late, that you are the right person for the job.


Ideas and big issues win elections. While the Republican party has all the modern ideas, and the Democrats continue to push the unimportant, uninspiring, and unworkable agenda, even devoted Leftist John Kerry is telling the Democrats they are wrong for Democrats to be talking about abolishing ICE and impeaching President Trump: