Republicans Should Be Tired of Being Number Two

In two prior columns, I showed that the Republican Party has been America’s second-place party since the 1930s and that Ronald Reagan was the only GOP president who had significantly narrowed the Democratic Party’s lead. Is Donald Trump the man to lead the party, and by extension those who want to reverse the progressive course America has long been on, out of its 80-plus year wilderness? The answer will dismay both his critics and his fans: we just don’t know yet.

This doesn’t mean he or the GOP can’t win elections. Clearly, Trump won in 2016 despite having only a 38 percent favorability rating on election day, according to the exit polls. Republicans have also won elections up and down the ballot for over seventy years despite their partisan disadvantage. Being second place doesn’t mean a party cannot win.

It does mean, however, that that party is always fighting on turf owned by their opponents. Republicans must always show they conform to certain progressive verities in order to be competitive, and in office they often must advance some progressive goals even if, in their hearts, they don’t want to. That is the state of affairs that Republicans want to reverse. You will know progressives are losing when they have to agree with “conservative” priorities in order to gain office.

Elections are about two things: “rallying” and “persuading.” Candidates “rally” voters when they show they share their views and priorities. A clever candidate knows how to do this for many groups simultaneously. Attempting to create a coalition that can win elections when speaking to only a couple of groups would make one the leader of an intense, but powerless, minority. Virtually all elections are at bottom about rallying, bringing people out to the polls by echoing concerns they already have.

“Persuading,” by contrast, means making common cause with people who don’t already share values common to the candidate’s normal groups of supporters. A persuader can show how a group of voters have interests or views they have not previously prioritized, or which they have sublimated under a previous set of attachments or goals. The persuader appeals to these deeper values, brings them to the forefront, and makes those this group’s new primary voting touchstone.

Successful mass persuasion occurs very rarely in American politics. Political scientists have identified what they label “realigning” elections, brief periods when a new voting coalition emerges that then reforms regularly in subsequent elections to move the country in its direction over time. That has happened only five or six times in our entire history. Looking at a few of those efforts can help us to understand what one must do to accomplish this seemingly herculean task.

Lincoln’s Task
Abraham Lincoln was perhaps our greatest persuader. The Republican Party, which formed in opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska act of 1854, initially was a rallying party of people who deeply opposed slavery expansion. It brought many former Whigs and a few former Democrats to together, but it was a minority party. It won only a third of the national vote, almost all of it concentrated in the far
north and northeast. The party could rally true believers, but it needed to expand if it wanted to win.

Lincoln came to national prominence as a result of his campaign against Democratic Party leader (and Kansas-Nebraska Act author) Senator Stephen Douglas. Lincoln knew that he needed to add voters who had backed the American/Know Nothing/Whig Party candidate in 1856, former President Millard Fillmore. Those voters prioritized keeping the Union together over fighting slavery. Lincoln’s—and the Republicans’—task was to bring a clear majority of those voters in Northern states over to their cause without diminishing the support of core rank-and-file Republicans. They had to be both anti-slavery expansion and pro-Union. This meant they would be directly opposed to such staunch abolitionists as William Lloyd Garrison, whose newspaper The Liberator had boldly proclaimed “No Union With Slaveholders.”

Lincoln accomplished this task by appealing to both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as containing guiding principles. The Declaration boldly declared the principle of human equality, that all men regardless of skin color had natural rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Constitution, however, recognized the existence of black slavery in the South, denying these people their rights. Even so, Lincoln argued that the Constitution was the document that allowed for the orderly determination of the application of the Declaration’s principles and would apply within the United States. Thus, where the Constitution did not recognize an exception to the Declaration’s principles—which was the case in the territories that had not yet become states—one could and must bar slavery expansion. But within those states whose practice of slavery was already established, freedom could only come through Constitutional means, which meant it could come only with those states’ consent whether internally through state action or through a national system of compensation that those states consented to.

Lincoln’s formulation did the trick. By 1860, he won nearly 40 percent of the vote, extending Republican power into areas of the free states that had rejected the party just four years prior. The party Lincoln created stayed intact for over thirty years, producing very similar majorities into the 1890s.

The Age of Roosevelt
The next great persuader, Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt, performed a similar feat. Democrats had been the minority party for over seventy years after Lincoln, but the Great Depression meant millions of out of work laborers and farmers—people who largely were immigrants or descended from immigrants and had arrived after the Civil War—felt betrayed by a Republican Party that was seemingly incapable of restoring prosperity.

Roosevelt’s party base, however, was still the descendants of those who supported the Southern cause in the Civil War. They remained supporters of a smaller, restricted federal government which respected traditional American norms. These voters were also largely Protestant and British-descended and were culturally suspicious of the Catholic and Jewish Northerners who came from a variety of non-British backgrounds.

FDR handled his task with aplomb. Like Lincoln, he drew sustenance by interpreting American history. In speeches like his Commonwealth Club address, Roosevelt argued that America had instituted a regime of liberty for all. But the precise distribution of powers was merely a means towards that end, and when those means no longer sufficed to create a polity where all people could exercise genuine liberty—which included in his telling a sufficient income and security in that income—then the means must be altered to secure the end.

In speech after speech, FDR made the case that his New Deal was, in fact, the modern fulfillment of traditional American aspirations. And just as Lincoln quoted the Democratic Party’s founder, Thomas Jefferson, in support of his politics, so too did FDR cite both Jefferson and Lincoln in support of his effort to build a new Democratic majority. FDR’s coalition not only won the election of 1932, it inaugurated the modern age of American politics in which we still live.

How Trump Could Build a New Majority
To a lesser degree, Reagan’s persuasive success followed these historic models. The Gipper’s targets were unhappy Democrats who thought the party no longer stood for their values. Reagan frequently invoked FDR and his successor Harry Truman, recalling their names and contrasting their memories with the proposals emanating from the current Democratic party. Indeed, Reagan cited or quoted Roosevelt more times than he even mentioned the word “Republican” in either of his two acceptance speeches to the Republican Party conventions that nominated him. He also regularly took the core elements of the New Deal philosophy, Social Security, and Medicare, off the table as he sought to refocus the political loyalties of the disaffected Democrats he wooed. His success was not as thorough as that of Lincoln or Roosevelt—he merely made Republicans competitive instead of creating a new Republican majority—but perhaps it was more impressive given the decades-deep hole in which his party started.

Trump so far has shown a little ability to persuade others to abandon their old party. He has never wavered in his vision of an America that respects and rewards the native-born working class. His combination of tax cuts, immigration restriction, and now trade protection is a perfect embodiment of their priorities. It’s no surprise that he converted millions of people who had voted for Democratic Presidential candidates since the Reagan era.

But he has done this at a great cost. Lincoln, FDR, and Reagan succeeded because they rallied their base while persuading others to join them. Trump’s crude rhetoric and the perception that he levels unnecessary gibes at individuals and often entire ethnic groups is alienating people who could join him. He is gaining millions of working-class Obama voters, but he is also losing millions of college-educated suburbanites. The path to a new majority, one that can own the terms of debate rather than simply win elections and tinker at the edges, runs through both sets of voters. The old GOP approach rallied one while turning off the other. If all Trump does is switch the groups of people he attracts and repels, he does not change the game, he merely changes the players who are on the teams. And that means Trump fans will still be fighting uphill against an energized Democratic Party that continues to retain more popular support, and thus usually has the political ability to call the plays the players must respond to.

It is beyond the scope of this piece to detail what sort of rhetoric and vision Trump needs to accomplish this. But it is clear the moment is ripe for him to begin employing it. Democrats continue to decline in voter surveys; they maintain their lead more because Republicans are failing to gain than because they are picking up converts. They show every sign of wanting to move further to the left, which will only mean picking more fights with more American values when most disaffected Americans want fewer fights that divide us.

The opportunity to create a new majority, one that can begin to make meaningful politics possible again, is before us. With the political power of normally Democratic voting groups projected to rise in future elections, simply rallying existing forces to win elections merely postpones the date of defeat. America will be great only if the terms of the game are changed, and that requires persuasion rather than mere rallying. Whether our President is up to the task is a great—and for now—unanswered question.

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107 responses to “Republicans Should Be Tired of Being Number Two

  • While I am an old college educated former Democrat and thoroughly enjoy Trump’s trolling of the communist left – David Horowitz nails what they are. I think you are exactly right that Trump needs to start persuading the centre better. I was thinking recently that even if he manages to publicly and legally expose the corruption of the FBI and Justice Department under Obama exquisitely timed for the mid-term election, he may not benefit decisively at the polls. I’d rather see the Republicans continue to control congress and Trump reelected in 2020 than see Comey writing tear jerkers from Supermax for the NY Times.

    • I agree. Electoral victories that eventually dilute leftists in the bureaucracy over time best plan. Although it’d be darn nice to have both winning AND accountability going on.

    • Trump’s strength is not rhetoric. It is getting things done. Actions speak louder than words…a basic concept most republicans, and most especially never-Trumper manipulators, fail to comprehend.

    • Dems are a grievance mascot conglomerate. It should be easy to chip them apart and have them fighting each other. The Trump twitzkrieg has already driven many of them insane.

      Questions for Dems –

      1) Why do Democratic female voters support the party that wants to let the men wander about their restrooms.

      2) Why do white males vote for a party that clearly despises them and wants to eliminate them from the country.

      3) Why do black voters support the party that wants to flood the country with low wage illegals and steal all the jobs from black Americans.

      4) Why do the homosexuals support the party that lumps them together with the mentally ill folk that cannot even figure out what gender they truly are. (there’s only 2 btw)

      5) Why do the Jewish people in the US vote for the Democratic Party that supports Louis Farrakhan? Particularly the CBC members.

      6) Similarly, why do LGBTEIEIO advocates vote for the party that supports Islam, since it should be pretty clear what happens to homosexuals in Muslim countries worldwide. Wouldn’t LGBT advocates support liberally tolerant Israel in preference to the intolerant Muslim ones?

      • I am a Jew and a gay man and have voted Republican all my life. I have no use for a party that wallows in victimization, self pity, entitlement and that hates half the country. The Democrats are composed of some of the most illiterate and culturally undesirable elements. They are rotten and corrupt.

  • Republicans must always show they conform to certain progressive verities in order to be competitive, and in office they often must advance some progressive goals even if, in their hearts, they don’t want to.

    Huh? Outside of California, Democrats always try to sound like Republicans in order to win. They’ve always got to tone down the nutbaggery. Meanwhile, I have yet to see any evidence anywhere that the GOP doesn’t really want to advance leftist nonsense.

    If they want to reverse this, all they have to do is do it.

    • You think so? How many Republicans are running on the platform of banning gay marriage? Or repealing Obamacare? I mean REALLY repealing it, as in going back to the days of pre-existing conditions and being dropped from your insurer for no reason.

      Fact is the GOP can’t stop progress, all they can do is throw speed bumps like Trump in here and there.

      • Virtually no member of the GOP is looking to return to the ‘bad old days’. Obamacare has failed to produce any of the benefits claimed for it and will need to be unwound some way or another. The way in which ‘pre-existing’ conditions were made acceptable to the insurance companies was to be bribed with lots and lots of tax dollars. This is because both the Democrats and the Republicans are beholden to the insurance company constituency. The problem of insurer behavior regarding pre-existing conditions could (and likely will) be resolved with any unwinding of Obamacare. All of the major GOP plans attempted to address the problem of pre-existing conditions in one manner or another, such as ‘high risk pools’. Obamacare has failed, everyone knows this. The question now is what can be put in its place that is sustainable economically and popular politically.

        As for ‘running’ on issues, it doesn’t seem to me that too many Democrats are using Obamacare as selling point for their candidacies. At least not in any ‘purple’ state.

      • Gay marriage was imposed by the Supreme Court, after 30+ states voted against it. That was not any kind of political victory for the left.

      • The supreme court was ahead of Americans, but not by far. Any poll out there will tell you an ever-growing majority of people support it – along with legalized marijuana, single payer healthcare, and every other issue regressives always seem to be 3 steps behind the civilized world on.

      • Morality can not be imposed by the Supreme Court. Judges are prone to making bad decisions as well as anyone else. It was the Court that upheld slavery and child labor. You live by the court, you die by the court. Social policy should be made by legislators attuned to the needs and values of their constituents not by unelected judges

      • The left’s view of democracy is clear – Have your agents in the judiciary write laws, then have your media manufacture public opinion polls to justify it. Totally the same thing as voting right? Just as legitimate.

      • Progress? That word may not mean what you think it means. Lol.

      • It’s the opposite of regressive, which describes the crusty old degenerates in power who are trying to take America back to 1950.

      • As opposed to taking us back to the Soviet Union in the ’30’s?

        It is crazy that Leftists have changed a few words of “The Divine Right of Kings” and declared it something new. Replacing Kings with bureaucrats to tell everyone what to do and how to live isn’t new, or progress.

        Attempting, yet again, the blood soaked ideology responsible for the deaths of 100,000,000 in the 20th century is also not progress, however many times you might look in the mirror and say it.

      • That’s pathetic. In the first place, the degenerates are those obsessed with buggery, with “safe spaces,” and with an ever-increasing number of “genders;” in the ’50s, the men were men and the women loved them.

        In the second place, the natural state of things is for governments to control everything. That’s the direction we’ve been sliding. “Progress” doesn’t need government to take place. In fact, it usually occurs despite government, hardly ever because of it.

        You need to learn some history to replace the ridiculous lies and fables you’ve been told and that you parrot back so mindlessly now.

      • So gays and lesbians are “degenerates”, but raw-dogging porn stars behind your wife’s back is totally okay. The “moral majority” party, personified.

        Nobody is stopping you from “being a man”, whatever the hell that means. Sounds to me like the “real men” in this country are the ones pissing and moaning about their victimhood, and how it’s sooo hard to be a white Christian male in America nowadays. You know, the ones Trump pandered to to win the election. How about you go live your life and stop bellyaching about others’ personal decisions instead of being a whiny, petulant manchild.

      • Well, quite obviously, buggery is the very definition of “degeneracy,” but if you want to think of it as normal, well, it’s your a$$hole, not mine. And if you don’t know what “being a man” is, then, it’s no wonder you don’t know what degeneracy is.

        As for Trump’s alleged unfaithfulness, you want to take the word of a dried-up old porn star, you go right ahead. But your butt-buddy Clinton normalized all this over our objections 20 years ago. And so much damage has been done to this country since then that those who voted for Trump don’t give a damn about any of that any more, provided he sticks to the campaign promises that got him elected.

        But you’re too blinded by your own vibrating hatred and stupidity to understand any of that.

      • There is nothing degenerate about being gay. Only to the the Talibangelical freaks of America. Who, by the way, have been reduced to a complete joke now that their support of Trump has revealed them as the massive hypocrites they’ve always been.

        I know what “being a man” is to Trumptards. They always made fun of Obama and called him effeminate, While viewing Trump as the dictionary definition of manhood. Thus, one can only assume “being a man” means being an obese sack of crap that needs a golf cart to travel more than 100 yards, while being a normal sized human is effeminate.

      • So, between making up words and the random incoherence, we already know you haven’t got anything worthwhile to contribute. Like I said — Kool Aid. Go away.

      • Actually modern day REgressives want to enact policies proven wrong 100% of the time. You’d think that repeated failures, ending many times in millions of citizens being killed by their governments, would jog a few brain cells.


      • Income tax-government schools-welfare-Keynesian economics-censorship-intrastate commerce-The Fed-infringement of 2A-judicial legislators.

        Actually our secured tights in the bill Of Rights have been trampled on by all sides.

      • Not sure what the meaning of your word salad was, but all those concepts exist in virtually every first world country – including this one for the last 100+ years.

        Sometimes I wish folks on the right could spend a day in their imaginary libertarian utopia just to see them beg for a functioning society afterwards.

      • I take it you mean by functioning is to allow men into women’s bathrooms, homos to marry, government to confiscate 1/2 + of our earnings, schools to crank out millions of illiterates and permit millions of illegals to destroy our country.

        Got it.

        Don’t think I’ll be screaming for more of that crap anytime soon.

      • I remember the 1950’s well (as an adult) and they were great. Prosperity and far less racial tension. I had many black friends and you could leave keys in the car without it being stolen. Americans of all races were one people.

        You don’t know what you’re talking about; I do, from personal experience, living in both Texas and California..

      • That’s funny. Yes, I’m sure there was much less racial tension in a day and age where minorities “knew their place”. Why don’t you ask your supposed black friends how great it was back in the day having fire hoses turned on them. I’m sure it was great for you, though.

      • The fire hoses (and don’t forget the police dogs) were deployed by Democrat Bull Connon and other southern Democrats who opposed civil rights. Nothing funny about it.

      • Not sure what them being Democrats has to do with my earlier comment, but I would remind you that 1950’s southern Democrats are today’s Republicans.

      • The America of the 1950’s was the apex of Western civilization. Yeah, why would we want to back to that?

      • “The America of the 1950’s was the apex of Western civilization”

        LOL, ok. America had an edge in the 1950’s because the rest of Europe was in shambles and Asia hadn’t caught up yet. Those days are never coming back.

        And even then, it wasn’t so great for anyone that wasn’t a hetero Christian white male. Sorry you folks lost your special snowflake status. Maybe you’ll get it back now that we have the white version of Al Sharpton in the oval office.

      • Dear Demagogue:
        the days of pre-existing conditions
        If you don’t bother taking out a life insurance policy, and you drop dead, should the wife and children you neglected to provide for have the right to invoke a “pre-existing condition” clause and get covered after your death?
        If you don’t bother taking out collision and comprehensive insurance on your car, and total the car, should you have the right to invoke a “pre-existing condition” clause and get covered after your accident?
        If you don’t bother taking out adequate home insurance, and you burn your house down, should you have the right to invoke a “pre-existing condition” clause and get adequate coverage after your fire?
        No, no, no and no to medical “pre-existing condition”.
        You want the limitless welfare state to pay for “pre-existing conditions”? Fine. Then be a man and say so, but don’t bullshit us with “pre-existing conditions” being “insurance”.
        dropped from your insurer for no reason
        Non sequitur. Oh, Mr. Ignoramus, that’s Latin for “it doesn’t follow”.
        ACA resulted in getting dropped by insurers because the policies were dead.
        Furthermore, no insurer could cancel an existing customer, and ACA didn’t change that.
        Wise up.

      • Okay then. say we bring back pre-existing conditions. Then we have tens of millions of people that nobody will insure. How do they get the healthcare they need? Or do we just send them thoughts and prayers?

        P.S. a vast chunk of these folks are Trump/GOP supporters (for some odd reason) which is why the GOP does not and never will have the balls to truly repeal Obamacare – it will be a career ender.

      • Did you suffer from brain damage? Are you so stupid that you don’t realize that most “insurance” has high deductibles? If you are poor, having to come up with $5k first doesn’t do anything. So you still go to the emergency room and don’t pay, in spite of your “insurance”.

      • But the difference is that the ER gets paid by the insurance company, as opposed to your uninsured utopia where the hospital has to eat the cost and pass it on to the rest of us.

        The ironic thing about the GOP is that they rant about single payer being “socialism” when essentially, relying on emergency rooms for uninsurable folks is about as socialist as you get.

      • “The ironic thing about the GOP is that they rant about single payer
        being “socialism” when essentially, relying on emergency rooms for
        uninsurable folks is about as socialist as you get.”

        Science you are an imbecile. You don’t even understand the meaning of the words which you use. Pretending that the GOP believes in free health care at the ER is so hugely ignorant that you are clearly nothing more than a “useful idiot” who parrots other’s thoughts.

      • It would be interesting to see when this strange term was invented. I challenge anyone to find an instance of the term “pre-existing condition” in relation to insurance in the 20th century. It is nonsensical, which is why the “useful idiots” repeat it so often.

        Insurance, by it’s very definition, implies that you have purchased it BEFORE any condition occurs which it might cover. The number of supposedly educated people who pout and cry and say stupid things like “the GOP” in regard to this upside down euphemism is almost shocking.

        If we, as a society, wish to subsidize people who have medical conditions and no insurance, so be it. The part about the drooling idiots insisting that it is insurance is infuriating. At least honestly call it what it is. They can’t even do that.

      • The GOP didn’t throw Trump in the way like a speed bump. We Americans did. The party had nothing to do with it.

      • Stick around snowflake, you ain’t seen nuthin yet. Hope you have a safe space where it’s all unicorns and rainbows.

      • Oh, I can’t wait for midterms. The opposing party almost always picks up seats, but when you have the most unpopular president in history, as we do now, it will be a bloodbath.

    • How true! Olsen continues to be fooled by the RINOs that dominate the GOP about being for conservative policy. But they don’t vote that way, and when called out about their votes, they then have a long list of excuses. It’s simple: consider the recent buget cap busting vote to fund and grow the government. Most Republicans voted for it, and in fact, it was written by GOP politicians in the House. Look at how they voted:

      Trump can’t do anything about it, because he knows that Congress surely won’t and will be against him if he does.

      I hold the RINO more responsible for this, because as you say, “Democrats always try to sound like Republicans in order to win” elections. We know the Democrats can’t be trusted (given the examples of lying from Obama and the Clintons). But voting for RINOs is also voting for untrustworthy candidates. I’ll vote libertarian before I vote for a RINO.

    • “nutbuggery” … LOL, nice term. I’ll borrow it from time to time. Fits the Prog Dem’s attempts to express what for them passes for logic.

  • Why does Olsen get printed here? He is a swamp creature who writes about getting along with the other swamp creatures to expand the swamp. He perfectly represents all of the bad in Republican politics, that is, a lack of principles.
    It is sad that a place that should be about draining the swamp is printing articles in support of it.

    “Republicans must always show they conform to certain progressive verities in order to be competitive” ????????!!!!!!

    How about you just go ahead and start writing for HuffPo? New Republic? I suppose that before the election you were a huge advocate of Jeb Bush?!

  • Facts! Facts should convince any rational college educated person. The facts are Trump is rebuilding America after it was being destroyed intentionally by the globalists or as they would say, brought into the community of nations. Policies aimed at reducing the standard of living of Americans while using what remained of American wealth to impose the will of the globalists upon the rest of the world have been reversed. Anyone who continues to vote Democrat is an indoctrinated ideologue who values something beyond America or the future of themselves or their children.

    • Trump is an embarrassment and humiliation to this country, as he tarnishes relations with our allies while showing admiration for thug rulers like Putin and Duterte.

      • Obamacare? The law nobody talks about repealing anymore despite controlling all 3 branches of government, thus proving the author’s point?

      • Non sense, all your complaints are CNN talking points and not related to reality like all other fake news,

        Trump has done more positive for our country than any President since Reagan. His tax cut is bringing corporations back the the US with both new factories and increased revenue. This ignores what it will do for the individual. He has gotten Europe to start paying into NATO and is starting to reform the idiotic anti US growth trade deals that have harmed the US. Eliminating the EPA strangle hole on the Oil industry has allowed has made the US an oil exporter. That is year one and three to go before he is reelected.

      • Nice to see you have such a positive outlook on the presidency. I see it a bit differently:

        – recession-level deficit spending
        – wage stagnation and rising household debt
        – The impending skyrocket of insurance premiums as healthy people can now leave the insurance market without penalty
        – the degradation and humiliation of a foreign power interfering in our elections, while our government does nothing
        – possible trade war
        – the dismantling of financial protections such as Dodd-Frank and the CFPB, setting the stage for another debt crisis

        And last but not least, having the decorum of the highest office in the land soiled by our degenerate president, who pays hush money to porn stars he was raw-dogging behind his pregnant wife’s back. At least from now on pubs can shut up about being the “family values” party.

      • To your last point first. When we have a rapist cheating on his wife in the oval office, protected by the media and still honored by his party and the media, it is silly to make charges of infidelity that happened during the same time the media was busy saying sex is no big deal to cover Clinton. Only a real hack appealing to the stupid would try it. Of course that describes the Democrats and their media.

        The rest of your points are equally silly.

        -Spending can only be controlled by shrinking govt and no political hack in either party will do that
        -Wages are going up and so are jobs. Household debt is a problem of the irresponsible.
        -The word “Impending” makes the rest of the statement meaningless.
        -Dropping the forced buying of insurance was the only moral and ethical decision. Slavery was rejected by the Civil War.
        -Russia had already bought Clinton in the uranium deal and Obama went along with it (paid or not) Why would they want Trump when they already owned Clinton?
        -Again “possible” What is happening is trade negotiation done by a man who wants to win instead of surrender his country.
        -Dodd Frank protected the crooks who gave us the Great Recession and left in place every program that produced it. It is nothing but bureaucrat growth without any positive results.

      • “At least from now on pubs can shut up about being the “family values” party.”

        Why? Because if the party doesn’t hand government to the Socialists something something something? If we don’t call for impeachment then it proves we like adultery? As opposed to voting for a woman who is still “married” to her rapist husband?

        Did you even read the idiocy you posted or did you just copy and paste?

      • Haha. The fact that you put a woman who got cheated on at the same level as a guy who cheated really reinforces your party’s opinion about women in general.

        P.S. Bill didn’t rape anyone, no matter how many times your little right wing lie factories repeat it.

        You’re the party of degeneracy now. Just own it. You don’t have any problem with what he says or does, because you would do the same if you were born into a bunch of money. Screw contractors and screw women that aren’t your wife. Run a sham university. Live the dream, baby.

        Have to give him SOME credit though, for duping all the dumb hicks into thinking he “cares about the little guy”.

      • Juanita Broderick says that he raped her twice. She is utterly believable. Your denial of this fact is evidence of how you view women.

      • When Slick Willie was through physically assaulting a woman, Hillie Willie would strap on her dildo team of Begala, the left nut, Carville, the right nut with little Steffie Stephanopoulos dangling in the middle to rape their lives. .
        If you are really dumb enough to believe Slick is not a rapist, you are dumb enough to believe Democrats care about anything but power and money.

      • I can’t even tell if you’re serious or not anymore, but honestly I was 10 when Clinton was president, so I really don’t care what he did or didn’t do. Trumptards really need to find a new talking point, as this one is getting pretty old and tired.

        And anyways, if you believe Clinton’s accusers, then you should believe Trump’s as well…right?

        And your last sentence is pretty hilarious seeing as how Drumpf is the personification of greed.

      • Facts do not get old and tired. Those who want to ignore them get old and tired of trying to deny them. The Clinton’s are not very competent crooks who have been protected by the media for their entire careers. They are not the first and they will not be the last whose evil will be hidden by the media.

        No, I do not accept your attempt to equate the Clinton’s accusers to Trump’s. The Clinton’s victims were out front while it was fresh being savaged by Hillary’s dildo team and the rest of the media. It went so far as to declare oral sex was not sex.

        Trump made his money by building things and he bought government when he needed to. The Clinton’s made their money selling government and were among those Trump bought off. The difference is between a businessman and a crook. The Clinton’s are crooks.

      • Hey believe what you want, I am just giving you some helpful advice. Pretty soon the majority of voters in this country won’t even have been of voting age when Clinton was president. So you should probably find a new boogeyman to rally your voters against, and deflect to in completely unrelated arguments like you do today.

      • I am an adult, I don’t believe in boogeymen. It is the left that makeup fantasies and monsters. Such insanity as Russia Trump collusion or Trump voters as Nazis are strictly Democrat. Unfortunately schools are producing perpetual children like you who still believe in boogeymen. You really need to read more than the glorified comic books of leftist propaganda. Try Jordan Peterson or Nicholas Taleb for starters.

      • You know it’s been confirmed by virtually everyone D and R that Russia meddled in the election right? That’s not really up for debate. As for whether or not Trump was in on it, Mueller will find out in time. Good to see there are still a handful of Republicans that put country over party, because traitors like Nunes certainly aren’t.

        As for the Nazi thing, I can’t speal for ALL Trump supporters…but I wonder how the seig heil tiki torch folks in Charlottesville voted?

      • Don’t tell me you are still peddling the Clinton campaign opposition research as real? The US and Russia have been playing with each other since the Cold War began at least. 2016 was no different until Trump won. Then “The Resistance” decided to overthrow the election results. The Nunes memo put an end to that by all but the most dedicated anti Trump propagandists. When you go down that propaganda path this becomes a boring waste of time.

      • Who sent back the bust of Churchill? Who kept Netanyahu waiting? Who bowed to Saudi Kings? Who promised Vlad Putin that he’d have “much more flexibility” after the 2012 election?

        That’s right — His Royal Blackness, King Barack. The one who humiliated his own country, cozied up to dictators, pissed off our allies, and emboldened our enemies.

        Surely even a troll as brainless and reflexive as you doesn’t believe all this bullshit?

      • You forget Fast and Furious and the Promise Program. The function of fast and furious was to murder people. Obama and Holder did not care who was murdered, only that someone was. They thought as the bodies piled up, they could attack the second amendment. The promise program is part of the effort to normalize criminal behavior. Since they cannot change the habits of their supporters, they want criminal behavior to be socially acceptable. Nothing is more dependable than a thugs vote.

      • You know, for a bunch of people who insist that “guns don’t kill people”, and “criminals will always find a way to get guns”, you sure make a big deal over Fast and Furious.

      • When the President and his Attorney General set out to put weapons in the hands of Mexican Cartel murderers it is a big deal. It makes them accomplices in every murder committed with those weapons. The reason for the program was to aid the cartels to commit murder with weapons they could claim were American as a means of attacking the Constitution. These are low crimes at the highest levels. Both men and their accomplices belong in jail.

      • Oh really? It makes them accomplices? That’s funny, because Republicans are always telling me it’s the shooter’s fault, and not the gun or the people that sold it to them. So I guess if we are going to hold Obama and Holder liable for those murders, we can also hold the gun store liable that sold guns to the Parkland shooter, and maybe even the manufacturer themselves. By your logic.

      • Well let’s see here…Churchill was a racist that got millions of Indians killed, Netanyahu is a crook…I didn’t care much for the bowing tbh, but Trump is kissing the Saudi’s a$$ and overlooking their human rights abuses just like every other president. And his looking away while Russia meddles in our elections is worse than anything Obama ever did. So yes, he is humiliating our country, while he runs his fat mouth about every other world leader but somehow has nary a bad thing to say about Putin. It will take years to wash the stench of his presidency off our foreign relations.

      • Oh, no! A racissssss!! Please. Let the grown-ups talk, now, OK? It’s obvious you have nothing to contribute to this particular wall but faeces. Bugger off.

  • IMO there are three distinct groups of republican voters who opposed Trump in 2016. First are the true believing conservatives who thought that Trump was a liberal wolf in sheeps clothing. Second are college educated professionals who find his rhetoric and style off putting (to say the least). Third are the insiders, quislingcons who have happily accepted the equivalent role of the WA generals to the proegressives globetrotters for 30 bits of silver.

    The first group is solidly behind Trump now that he is governing as a conservative.

    The second group, which is the largest, will spilt with most quietly supporting Trump and continuing to support traditional republicans. The minority that is so offended by Trump that they will embrace modern democrat nuttiness was going to go that route anyway.

    The third group, a very tiny minority of the overall public, will keep doubling down on their Trump hatred because they were always only in it for the money, and that gig is now over, so their Trump hatred is best seen as auditioning for new gigs in the leftwing media.

    • Hillary Clinton’s nomination and Obamacare were the two biggest gifts of the Democrat Party to Republicans in the last 20 years.

      • Yup, especially all the poor republicans with pre-existing conditions that can now get healthcare. Maybe one day they’ll show a little gratitude.

      • You’re spilling Kool Aid all over your face. You look like a clown. Go do your trolling somewhere else.

      • No, you’re embarrassing yourself. You don’t make any sense and you’re spraying the same bullshit we could hear on CNN if we wanted.

      • He clearly lacks the intellect necessary to even have original thoughts. Repeating the words of others is all which he is capable, obviously.

  • …and its time to scrape that “number 2” off our heels, and move forward.

  • Let me get this straight: the GOP controls the White House, both houses of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Governorships and Legislatures in a majority of states, and they’re a second place Party? On what planet, the same imaginary one where Christians are a persecuted minority in the US?

  • Watch your words . pal . “Crude Rhetoric” is at best an oxymoron and at worst a plain old contradiction . The term ‘rhetoric’ was enormously devalued in the Obama years when crass demagoguery was elevate to that level by a fawning press. But as to ‘crude’ , Trump very much speaks in a crude manner , but not in a way alien to his college educated suburbans. I will assert in my travels through the locker rooms of upscale suburban gyms , I have heard the same and worse . In the after hours watering holes on Wall Street , I have heard the same stuff, and not from shadowy traders, but by deal guys from name brand firms . So , in sum , do not put too much weight in Trump’s language , it is not so alien and off putting as you might think

  • This author seems to ignore the impact of culture on people and the way they align politically. I think these cultural forces are considerably more powerful than a candidate’s ability to persuade, in a sense deceive, potential voters. Today more than ever, culture enforces correct, cool thinking and punishes as retrograde traditional ideas such as, for example, the basic principles underlying the constitution. The idea that Trump moderating his approach and being more persuasive will win over these nut bars who have been influenced by the educational system, media, and Oprah is sort of silly because they no longer share basic values with the sort of folks who elected Trump. In my view, the Never-Trumpers deliberately abandoned ideas they claimed to be conserving not because they believe in the progressive project, but because they want to be cool too. They want the trappings of being non-retrograde, believe in nothing more than the superiority of their own intelligence, and care about themselves far more than the future of the country.

  • Ideally, both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party will go the way of the Federalists and the Whigs, giving rise to new parties more reflective of the views of average Americans and rejecting the extremism of both present parties.

  • I think it’s obvious by the look and smell of them, the Democrats are number two.

  • The problem with this argument is that it assumes that major political changes are caused by politicians’ rhetoric, rather than by structural changes. The growth in opposition to slavery that occurred in the 1850s was largely the result of concern among the Northern working class that slavery was pushing down wages. These fears became especially acute as a result of the panic of 1857. When the South made clear that it would not accept the limitation of slavery to the southeast and successfully prevailed upon the Supreme Court to hold that the North could not even abolish slavery in the North, that is what consolidated opinion around the Republicans.

    Likewise, you cannot understand the success of the New Deal without understanding the effects of immigration and urbanization on American politics. The simple fact is that by 1932, there were many millions of American voters who simply did not have the same attachment to the old verities about limited government and separation of powers.

    The same is even more true now. Don’t forget, all else being equal, if the demographic profile of the United States had been the same in 2012 as it had been in 1980, Romney would have won by a bigger margin than Reagan did. If the demography of the country had been the same as in 2000, all else being equal, Romney would have eked out a victory. That is the headwind Republicans and conservatives have been running into since 1965. You cannot take in tens of millions of immigrants from the third world without becoming politically more like the third world. If Republicans do not enact Trump’s immigration policies, the Republican Party and the conservative movement will soon cease to be significant forces in American politics.

    • The Great Replacement.

      Seems odd for those who say we live in a Globalist world to call non-whites the Minority.

      There are 8 Billion people in the world. 700 Million of them are white.

      We. Are. The. Minority. Hopefully we get tired of being unwilling victims in this game like we did with The Knockout Game

    • Although I agree with the substance of your comment, in 1932, and for some decades prior, it was an old-stock, WASP elite that had been pushing progressivism across the culture and in academia. There was still ample support for limited government, but the crisis of the Depression so fit the elite narrative and trends, that many people went along. I think you badly misjudge the degree to which people at the time, even ones who’d been here for more than a century, conflate democracy with a republic and retained strong suspicion of liberty. In other words, it wasn’t just immigrants or their kids who were the problem.

  • He is gaining millions of working-class Obama voters, but he is also losing millions of college-educated suburbanites.
    Does Mr. Olsen have ANY sense of how bitterly antagonizing EVERYTHING that came out of the mouth of Barack Hussein Obama was? Apparently not.
    And thus, we continue with the execrable dual standard, Democrats can say anything without criticism, Republicans must play Mother Theresa.
    I don’t think so.

      • You hate half the country. What a nice vision for the future.

      • There are stupid people in every part of the country. No one has a monopoly on wisdom, virtue and intelligence. I live in New York and we have plenty of dumb people here.

  • “Trump’s crude rhetoric and the perception that he levels unnecessary gibes at individuals and often entire ethnic groups is alienating people who could join him.”

    And who controls that perception?

    The Praetorian Guard of the Globalist, Neo-Marxist cabal; The Media.

    Stop legitimizing them by giving any credence to what they say and the Useful Idiots that gleefully swallow it.

  • Persuasion happened in the 1980s because of results. The economic boom that started in 1983 was so massive that it could not be denied. To the extent that the Republicans produce outcomes that people cannot deny, they will gain support.

  • The problem for republican voters is that most are voting with their wallets NOT their hearts. Small government that allowed people to keep their hard earned money instead of taxing it. The social agenda takes second billing to the financial agenda. Many republican supporters are pro choice, pro gay marriage… but anti Tax!!!! It really is that simple

  • I respect Mr. Olsen, but I think, despite his historical emphasis, he’s missing a key difference between the days when Reagan was running for office and now: Division. The US is much, much more ideologically divided than in the Reagan era and the opposition to POTUS Trump is not only better-organized but the opposition is deeply entrenched in the cultural and political institutions of the US. Reagan was never confronted with 91% negative media coverage or a Special Counsel from Day One of his Presidency or a DOJ/FBI facilitated surveillance operation on his campaign.

    As for criticisms of Donald J. Trump’s communication style, the method of propaganda (‘the shaping of human attitude’ according to Ellul) is to first agitate then consolidate. I just don’t think the consolidation phase has arrived.

  • If Republicans want to win they need to be willing to fight for the American dream. And that dream aint just who can dole out more free stuff.

    And by fight they need to adapt the tactics of the left to fit their style and their agenda. And by agenda, the agenda that promotes and promulgates the optimization of the pursuit of the American dream by the maximum number of citizens.

    If they can’t do that, they deserve to get what ever hell the Left wants to put in place.

  • How is Trump going to be the great persuader from prison?

    • Excerpt from “Pavlich: Hillary would have lost even if Obama was tougher on Russia.”

      “In fact, Obama admitted there is no way American elections can be rigged and laughed at the suggestion they somehow could be.

      “The larger point I want to emphasize here is that there is no serious person out there who would suggest somehow that you could even — you could even rig America’s elections, in part, because they are so decentralized and the numbers of votes involved,” Obama said in October 2016 Rose Garden press conference. “There is no evidence that that has happened in the past or that there are instances in which that will happen this time. And so I’d invite Mr. Trump to stop whining and go try to make his case to get votes.”

      That’s precisely what President Trump did. He campaigned hard in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida and Pennsylvania. He came close to winning in Minnesota. By reaching out to rural voters, he flipped more than 100 counties from blue to red. As noted by CNBC, some of those counties turned Republican by more than 30 points. Clinton didn’t put in the work and paid the consequences when she came up short on election night.

      We’ve been over this ground before and yet somehow more than a year later the narrative continues to imply the reason Clinton lost was because of Russian interference. She lost because she was a terrible, out-of-touch candidate.”

    • If I were a leftist I’d be embarrassed to have something as stupid as you on my side.

  • Republicans need to address today’s version of the same issue that got the party started.

    Abuse of non-citizens triggered the formation of the party and the Civil War. Lincoln’s House Divided speech applies to the split between the open borders crowd and citizens looking for the American Dream. You can’t have both. Republicans need to say why open borders destroy the American Dream. It’s not like this subject hasn’t been discussed. Articles on the “new slavery” lay it out.

    Candidate David Bratt said it. He pointed out that Rep. Eric Cantor “represents large corporations that want cheap labor.”

    Bernie Sanders said it. According to his website: “the open-borders crowd sometimes comes embarrassingly close to making the kind of argument that was once deployed in defense of slavery. . . . ”

    Republicans can’t have it both ways. Either come out against today’s version of the peculiar institution, or throw in the towel.

  • When Republicans are elected, they are in office. When Democrats are elected, they are in power.

  • Here’s an excerpt from an interesting article I saw called “The Gay Rights Movement Is Undoing Its Best Work” by Andrew Sullivan. This is what the left in general rather than gays in particular have become. It means the left has become insane and since the Democratic Party is the Party of the left it certainly makes sense to avoid voting Democratic. This is what we need to highlight because many people aren’t aware of it since our wonderfully progressive msm hides it.

    “As many of us saw our goals largely completed and moved on, the far left filled the void. The movement is now rhetorically as much about race and gender as it is about sexual orientation (“intersectionality”), prefers alternatives to marriage to marriage equality, sees white men as “problematic,” masculinity as toxic, gender as fluid, and race as fundamental. They have no desire to seem “virtually normal”; they are contemptuous of “respectability politics” — which means most politics outside the left. Above all, they have advocated transgenderism, an ideology that goes far beyond recognizing the dignity and humanity and civil equality of trans people into a critique of gender, masculinity, femininity, and heterosexuality. “Live and let live” became: “If you don’t believe gender is nonbinary, you’re a bigot.” I would be shocked if this sudden lurch in the message didn’t in some way negatively affect some straight people’s views of gays.”

  • Olsen has an economic agenda that is a lot closer to that of Hillary Clinton than to either Trump or Reagan.

  • Nixon had much greater influence than did Reagan over the development of the modern Republican party. Nixon proved that Republicans could be trusted to preserve the Great Society. Nixon openly ridiculed conservative Republicans who were faithful to doctrine. Nixon sought to rally a core of people who wanted to preserve the Great Society but were in no hurry to dilute their benefits by including large numbers of previously excluded claimants. But, as Progressive Democrats continue to assert that they hold the moral high ground, the Nixon solution increasingly appears to be a dead end.

  • Republicans ceased to lead and became content with following about 20 years ago. They can be counted on to back down quickly whenever challenged. They call this compromise, but we never see the democrats compromise do we? We now know them as the GOPe! Now, if there is any criticism of Trump they almost immediately jump on the bandwagon until it appears the coast is clear, and then only do they get behind him. I call them cowards!

  • The “38% favorability rating on election day” was fake news generated by poorly designed surveys (on purpose). The author should know that. Trump is solid as a rock and just getting better each day.

  • We say we are tired of being number two but then here in Texas we helped along another Bush in his march to power by a huge margin. So maybe not.

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