Skip to comments.Louise Mensch: the Conservatives can learn from the failures of the Republican Party
Posted on 09/30/2013 5:38:37 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Writing from her new home in New York, Louise Mensch argues that Britain needs more politicians like Chris Christie and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Its strange watching the parallels develop between British and American politics. After the disaster of the 2008 McCain-Palin campaign (think William Hague as Conservative leader), the Republicans were at least respectable under Mitt Romney (think Michael Howard). But they now have no hope of victory, with no light in sight down a long, dark tunnel and a clear need for major reform.
The Grand Old Party needs to learn the lessons of Nate Silver and actually read the polls. The numbers would show GOP believers that the ground has shifted decisively away from them and they must understand that. Hispanics are no longer voting for them. Women are not voting for them. Terrifyingly, young people are voting but not for them. The last election brought a surge in the youth vote, which almost never happens. The GOP cannot win if it becomes the party of Todd Akin, of middle-aged white males. There are not enough of those to get anywhere near the White House.
Ah, cries the blogosphere, but we nominated liberals in McCain and Romney and look what happened! Yet the terminally dull Romney got the nod because no candidate worth anything wanted to chance his arm against the guy who got Bin Laden. McCain, despite his unique status as a war hero and political maverick, cannot speak well and this is the television age.
The fundamental error is to assume that, in tacking to the right, America will elect the GOP again. It is becoming more British; it is becoming more centrist. The 42-year-old Texan senator Ted Cruz may get the firebrands going but immigration reform is hugely popular in America. The GOP should make a list of popular things and ask itself why it is against them.
It should follow the model of the red governors who win blue states because the US today is itself a blue state. And failing to recognise that shift will lead to obsoleteness. Arnold Schwarzenegger won in California because he was ready to detoxify the Republican brand: with magnetism, humour and fame, yes, but also with initiatives for afterschool programmes and green energy. He was a Tory people could vote for.
Hillary Clinton is definitely running for the presidency next time round and I am honestly not sure she is beatable. But the best chance the GOP has of defeating her is a candidate who will fight the general election, not the Republican primary. That candidate is Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey a big man who is socially liberal, in favour of civil partnerships, who took on the teaching unions and won, who co-operated with Barack Obama and ripped the hell out of a Republican Congress on behalf of his state after Hurricane Sandy.
Like Schwarzenegger, he pitches himself as post-partisan: socially liberal enough that centrists can vote for him, blue collar enough to win in Ohio. Neither McCain nor Romney had that. He would probably win New Jersey, too, which changes the electoral map.
He will need a woman as his running mate. And I know exactly whom he should pick: Susana Martinez, the governor of New Mexico. A former Democrat who joined the GOP over economics, Martinez is pro-choice, pro-gun (Christie is mostly pro-life, anti-gun), from a small blue swing state, a competent woman and a non-Cuban Hispanic.
Britain could do with more politicians like Martinez, and like Christie and Schwarzenegger: those who can go beyond the old party boundaries to appeal to a wider group. That is particularly vital, as in these days of George Osbornes economic triumph it is hard to recall that there is also a story about plummeting Tory membership. Of course there is, but that is partly because David Cameron has reached out to a far, far larger constituency of Tory voters. In fighting to win my own marginal seat of Corby in 2010, I was supremely grateful to our activists and members but aimed to appeal to a greater swath of the public.
The Tory party needs to rethink membership, with its fees and off-putting structure. If I were working at Conservative central office, prices would be slashed to the bone and membership would be free for the armed forces. Activists and supporters would be targeted digitally. I would look to leverage the kind of data that tech companies use. And Id campaign virally. Furthermore, I would allow national membership as well as by constituency. Many people are put off by a local party geared to quizzes and bridge; students and twentysomethings are debating on Twitter, reading Guido Fawkes and staying away from the formal, yahoo nature of Conservative Future (a perennial embarrassment).
Registering, involving and staking out a new generation of Conservatives cannot be done the old-fashioned stubs-and-dinners way. It is not that we should abandon our old supporters; we should thank and embrace them. But every Conservative PPC and MP must remember that it is not the 70 people in their Conservative club who elected them, but 75,000 voters in their seats.
We need to go for registered Conservatives and count them as our members. We need to reform selection and the tiny clique that controls the candidates list. We need a central, national party and a huge database of phone numbers and emails. But most of all we need to remember that we cannot appeal only to those who loathed equal marriage and want out of the EU (I myself want total reform à laNorway) to win, we must appeal to ex- Labour, ex-Lib Dem, ex-Green voters.
We must fight in the centre. Because that is where the US is heading and where Britain has already arrived. Camerons huskies bought Osbornes chance for true fiscal conservatism. Even diehard right-wingers should recognise that.
This is an edited extract from the autumn 2013 edition of Bright Blues magazine, the Progressive Conscience
Why even post crap like this. Do you think we aren’t angry enough?
“The fundamental error is to assume that, in tacking to the right, America will elect the GOP again. It is becoming more British; it is becoming more centrist”
If that’s true, this country is DEAD.
I’d also like to know how his retard explains the fact that David Cameron, after going mega liberal on fag marriage, and wind farms, suffered a MONUMENTAL defeat in the regional elections, where UKIP stole most of their votes.
My opinion. So-called conservatives like the fraud who wrote this garbage are in decline terminally, and the excuses for McLame and Romney don’t change that.
Obviously not. Messrs. Obama, Holder, Reid, Boehner, McConnell and McCain/Graham are still in power and laughing at us peasants.
Hillary Clinton is definitely running for the presidency next time round and I am honestly not sure she is beatable.
If that is true America is done. Clinton should be in jail. That she is not is an indictment on our current Government. That she could be elected as President is an indictment on our citizens. That enough citizens would vote for Clinton after Benghazi would prove that our citizens have lost the sense of what it is to be an American.
Bull.... Romney was always a collaborator with democrats..
A Vichy politician... and treasonous businessman..
This cow doesn’t know her a$$ from a hole is the ground.
Well the Tories had Bloomberg as a speaker in one of their meetings. I don’t recall them ever having Palin or Cruz or Tea Party activist as a speaker. So it looks like the UK Tory party is Socialist lite.
Martinez, & Christie ..= the odd couple !
If she likes communism so much, why doesn’t she just go back? They still hold a slight lead on us in the communism department.
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