7 political lessons from 2016 conservatives need to apply in 2017

7 political lessons from 2016 conservatives need to apply in 2017

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7 political lessons from 2016 conservatives need to apply in 2017

As many Repub­li­cans fin­ish bask­ing in their vic­tory over their Demo­c­ra­tic rel­a­tives they only see at Christ­mas­time, we’re look­ing at the final week of 2016. More impor­tantly, we’re look­ing at the final four weeks of the Obama admin­is­tra­tion with new infor­ma­tion that needs to be applied going fur­ther, par­tic­u­larly for conservatives.

For some of us, the future is about build­ing on the suc­cesses of 2016 and apply­ing our new­found DC dom­i­nance towards solv­ing prob­lems. For a num­ber of stal­wart con­ser­v­a­tives who are still skep­ti­cal about what the future holds, there are lessons to learn and chal­lenges to address in order to steer the Trump admin­is­tra­tion and GOP Con­gress in the right direction.

Some of the lessons from 2016 are obvi­ous and won’t be cov­ered here such as Oba­macare (just repeal it), ter­ror­ism (do what it takes to stop it), gun rights (pro­tect them), and main­stream media (don’t trust them). Other lessons need more focus if we’re going to have a pro­duc­tive 2017. Here are the top 7 lessons to heed.

Stick to our guns on abortion

The nar­ra­tive of pro-​life ver­sus pro-​choice has been shifted. We’re still address­ing our move­ment with the same basic lan­guage, but the left is now push­ing “repro­duc­tive rights” over “choice” because they sim­ply couldn’t get around the idea that the baby must be con­sid­ered in choices. In many ways, this left­ward push towards polit­i­cally cor­rect­ing their nar­ra­tive worked against them, but that doesn’t mean they’ll con­tinue to lose.

Abor­tion is a cul­tural issue that has seeped into pol­i­tics. It’s imper­a­tive for the pro-​life move­ment to stay with the mes­sage of life begin­ning in the womb and not after birth. This stance will allow for more states to ban abor­tions at 20– or 24-​weeks and will enable us to push those pro­tec­tions even closer to con­cep­tion in the future. All we need to do is let sci­ence meld with emo­tion. This is polit­i­cal, but it must be fought on a cul­tural level if we’re going to con­tinue to make up ground.

Democ­rats won’t be com­pla­cent again

The cer­tainty the Democ­rats felt about win­ning the Pres­i­dency and the Sen­ate left them absolutely shocked on elec­tion night. They didn’t lose so badly because they didn’t have enough sup­port­ers. They lost because in the key states there was enough com­pla­cency to pre­vent them from get­ting out the vote the way Obama did in 2008 and 2012.

It won’t hap­pen again, at least not for a long time. They will come out hard in 2018. 2020 could be a blood­bath if Trump isn’t suc­cess­ful. They have the ammu­ni­tion they need to get out the vote. They were over­con­fi­dent; how many Democ­rats didn’t vote because they were so cer­tain of vic­tory? That will be the ral­ly­ing cry going for­ward, so Repub­li­cans need to get their peo­ple out with as much fervor.

Free trade has ene­mies in every corner

It was once safe to assume that the Repub­li­can Party was the party of free trade. That sim­ply isn’t so any­more as many party-​line fol­low­ers hear the mes­sage of fair trade and believe that it’s the new game plan. Fis­cal con­ser­v­a­tives who believe in the free mar­ket econ­omy have to fight both the GOP and the Democ­rats to achieve the busi­ness growth and finan­cial envi­ron­ment nec­es­sary for future prosperity.

Now more than ever, trade must flour­ish. It’s wor­ri­some that so many in both major par­ties are fight­ing against this. It’s up to con­ser­v­a­tives to ham­mer the mes­sage back in place before we start see­ing the cost-​expanding effects of “fair” trade.

Immi­gra­tion is a win­ning issue

Remem­ber that taboo of ille­gal immi­gra­tion, walls, and depor­ta­tions that allegedly helped doom Mitt Rom­ney in 2012? Trump’s mes­sage was even harsher and it worked.

Ille­gal immi­gra­tion is a major prob­lem that most Amer­i­cans can acknowl­edge. While more Amer­i­cans lean in favor of some vari­a­tion of amnesty, 2016 proved that it’s not impor­tant enough of an issue to pre­vent can­di­dates from win­ning. Par­tic­u­larly when we tie it to the two biggest hot but­tons — econ­omy and ter­ror­ism — we’ll be able to con­tinue to fight open bor­ders, amnesty, and other lib­eral immi­gra­tion prin­ci­ples with­out fear of los­ing elections.

Smaller-​government needs fur­ther prioritization

Killing some reg­u­la­tions, pulling back on the reins in some depart­ments, and elim­i­nat­ing most of Barack Obama’s exec­u­tive orders is a good place to start, but doing so will only bring us back a decade when gov­ern­ment over­reach was still ram­pant. It will take a much more pro­nounced attack on big gov­ern­ment to make a dent which is why I’m now a Fed­er­al­ist.

What’s worse is that many of the pro­pos­als com­ing from our future lead­ers in DC are push­ing for big­ger gov­ern­ment. From a tril­lion dol­lar infra­struc­ture plan to expan­sion of cer­tain very expen­sive pro­grams and ini­tia­tives, we have our work cut out for us. Reduc­ing the size of gov­ern­ment hasn’t been a pri­or­ity since the last Fed­er­al­ist Pres­i­dent, Ronald Rea­gan. We need to bring it back to the fore­front quickly or con­tinue to suf­fer through a two-​party sys­tem where both sides increase bud­gets, bureau­cracy, and power in DC.

Sub­si­dies aren’t nec­es­sary for buy­ing votes

One of the most impor­tant lessons that was for­got­ten by many is that sub­si­dies don’t win elec­tions the way they once did. Ted Cruz demon­strated that in the Iowa cau­cus by win­ning while being the only can­di­date against ethanol sub­si­dies while Marco Rubio lost his home state of Florida while defend­ing his sugar sub­si­dies.

Now that we see this truth, it’s time to strike before every­one com­pletely for­gets. Sub­si­dies are cre­ated to buy votes in local areas and they per­sist out of fear for los­ing votes. 2016 debunked the sec­ond part of the myth. That means we need to cut now.

The alt-​right is a grow­ing problem

Did the alt-​right help Trump win? Absolutely. He brought out a slew of new vot­ers in both the pri­maries and the gen­eral elec­tion, many of whom prob­a­bly aren’t even aware that they embrace alt-​right concepts.

Here’s the thing, and I say this know­ing that it will be an unpop­u­lar state­ment to some who read this. The alt-​right helped Trump, but they are not a pos­i­tive influ­ence on the GOP or Amer­i­can pol­i­tics. The surface-​level appeal that keeps them going makes their ranks eas­ily manip­u­lated away from con­ser­v­a­tive prin­ci­ples. The term “alt-​right” is unfor­tu­nate because in many ways they have far-​left views inter­min­gled with the views that are con­sid­ered far-​right. This makes for a dan­ger­ous com­bi­na­tion for any party that wants to address issues beyond the emo­tional surface.

2016 was a good year for Repub­li­cans and a poten­tially good year for con­ser­v­a­tives. There’s hope, but let’s make cer­tain that hope doesn’t turn into the same com­pla­cency that doomed the Democ­rats. If we don’t, we could be look­ing at quick rever­sals in 2018 and 2020.

As many Republicans finish basking in their victory over their Democratic relatives they only see at Christmastime, we’re looking at the final week of 2016. More importantly, we’re looking at the final four weeks of the Obama administration with new information that needs to be applied going further, particularly for conservatives.

For some of us, the future is about building on the successes of 2016 and applying our newfound DC dominance towards solving problems. For a number of stalwart conservatives who are still skeptical about what the future holds, there are lessons to learn and challenges to address in order to steer the Trump administration and GOP Congress in the right direction.

Some of the lessons from 2016 are obvious and won’t be covered here such as Obamacare (just repeal it), terrorism (do what it takes to stop it), gun rights (protect them), and mainstream media (don’t trust them). Other lessons need more focus if we’re going to have a productive 2017. Here are the top 7 lessons to heed.

Stick to our guns on abortion

The narrative of pro-life versus pro-choice has been shifted. We’re still addressing our movement with the same basic language, but the left is now pushing “reproductive rights” over “choice” because they simply couldn’t get around the idea that the baby must be considered in choices. In many ways, this leftward push towards politically correcting their narrative worked against them, but that doesn’t mean they’ll continue to lose.

Abortion is a cultural issue that has seeped into politics. It’s imperative for the pro-life movement to stay with the message of life beginning in the womb and not after birth. This stance will allow for more states to ban abortions at 20- or 24-weeks and will enable us to push those protections even closer to conception in the future. All we need to do is let science meld with emotion. This is political, but it must be fought on a cultural level if we’re going to continue to make up ground.

Democrats won’t be complacent again

The certainty the Democrats felt about winning the Presidency and the Senate left them absolutely shocked on election night. They didn’t lose so badly because they didn’t have enough supporters. They lost because in the key states there was enough complacency to prevent them from getting out the vote the way Obama did in 2008 and 2012.

It won’t happen again, at least not for a long time. They will come out hard in 2018. 2020 could be a bloodbath if Trump isn’t successful. They have the ammunition they need to get out the vote. They were overconfident; how many Democrats didn’t vote because they were so certain of victory? That will be the rallying cry going forward, so Republicans need to get their people out with as much fervor.

Free trade has enemies in every corner

It was once safe to assume that the Republican Party was the party of free trade. That simply isn’t so anymore as many party-line followers hear the message of fair trade and believe that it’s the new game plan. Fiscal conservatives who believe in the free market economy have to fight both the GOP and the Democrats to achieve the business growth and financial environment necessary for future prosperity.

Now more than ever, trade must flourish. It’s worrisome that so many in both major parties are fighting against this. It’s up to conservatives to hammer the message back in place before we start seeing the cost-expanding effects of “fair” trade.

Immigration is a winning issue

Remember that taboo of illegal immigration, walls, and deportations that allegedly helped doom Mitt Romney in 2012? Trump’s message was even harsher and it worked.

Illegal immigration is a major problem that most Americans can acknowledge. While more Americans lean in favor of some variation of amnesty, 2016 proved that it’s not important enough of an issue to prevent candidates from winning. Particularly when we tie it to the two biggest hot buttons – economy and terrorism – we’ll be able to continue to fight open borders, amnesty, and other liberal immigration principles without fear of losing elections.

Smaller-government needs further prioritization

Killing some regulations, pulling back on the reins in some departments, and eliminating most of Barack Obama’s executive orders is a good place to start, but doing so will only bring us back a decade when government overreach was still rampant. It will take a much more pronounced attack on big government to make a dent which is why I’m now a Federalist.

What’s worse is that many of the proposals coming from our future leaders in DC are pushing for bigger government. From a trillion dollar infrastructure plan to expansion of certain very expensive programs and initiatives, we have our work cut out for us. Reducing the size of government hasn’t been a priority since the last Federalist President, Ronald Reagan. We need to bring it back to the forefront quickly or continue to suffer through a two-party system where both sides increase budgets, bureaucracy, and power in DC.

Subsidies aren’t necessary for buying votes

One of the most important lessons that was forgotten by many is that subsidies don’t win elections the way they once did. Ted Cruz demonstrated that in the Iowa caucus by winning while being the only candidate against ethanol subsidies while Marco Rubio lost his home state of Florida while defending his sugar subsidies.

Now that we see this truth, it’s time to strike before everyone completely forgets. Subsidies are created to buy votes in local areas and they persist out of fear for losing votes. 2016 debunked the second part of the myth. That means we need to cut now.

The alt-right is a growing problem

Did the alt-right help Trump win? Absolutely. He brought out a slew of new voters in both the primaries and the general election, many of whom probably aren’t even aware that they embrace alt-right concepts.

Here’s the thing, and I say this knowing that it will be an unpopular statement to some who read this. The alt-right helped Trump, but they are not a positive influence on the GOP or American politics. The surface-level appeal that keeps them going makes their ranks easily manipulated away from conservative principles. The term “alt-right” is unfortunate because in many ways they have far-left views intermingled with the views that are considered far-right. This makes for a dangerous combination for any party that wants to address issues beyond the emotional surface.

2016 was a good year for Republicans and a potentially good year for conservatives. There’s hope, but let’s make certain that hope doesn’t turn into the same complacency that doomed the Democrats. If we don’t, we could be looking at quick reversals in 2018 and 2020.