The 2024 election season has already begun. Unfortunately for Republicans, they finished 2022 poorly and their voters are discouraged. If Republicans want to avoid a Democrat sweep of the House, Senate and the White House in 2024, they need to become the expert political strategists in 2023 that they weren’t in 2022.
The 2022 Midterm elections exposed a new reality for Republicans. They can no longer expect to win just by pointing out that Democrat policies are failing. By all accounts, the economic numbers were against Democrats last year and Republicans made minimal gains while the Democrats gained in the Senate.
That was caused principally by the fact that Republicans did not control the election narrative. Mitch McConnell admitted voters saw Republicans as too negative. Why did they think that? Because Republicans did not offer voters any clear direction or program for halting inflation, reducing crime, controlling the border or creating jobs. They did not set or control the terms of the debate. Instead, they were defined down the stretch by the Democrats.
In no uncertain terms, Republicans also were taught that Democrat voters are far more loyal to their party than Republican voters. Despite the very bad economy, unlike Republicans, the Democrat voters supported all of their candidates – even the likes of the very bad candidates John Fetterman and Stacey Abrams.
Republicans also need to understand that elections are about the future, investigations are about the past. Some investigations are necessary, but positive agendas often win, investigations rarely win.
If the 2024 Republicans don’t learn those lessons, they will be swept out of House control in addition to losing the White House and the Senate. To avoid that fate, they need to go on offense and their control of the House gives them that opportunity.
Here is what House Republicans must do:
Controlling the terms of an election debate is essential. In 1994, Newt Gingrich and the Republicans put forth an agenda and ran on it. They won. In the run-up to the 2000 election, Republicans passed tax cuts that the Democrats opposed. The New York Times ran this headline: “Republicans pass big tax cut to set stage for debate.” The Democrat presidential nominee Al Gore opposed the tax cuts and lost the election.
The first two years of the Biden presidency has exposed the Democrat agenda and demonstrated the terrible effect of their policies. Under Democrat control, government spending ballooned, and inflation followed just as assuredly as day follows night. Even Obama’s economic guru said there was too much “stimulus.”
Now that they are in control of the House, and can determine the nature of any spending bills, Republicans should only pass bills that contain necessary spending and no frills. They should avoid omnibus bills at all costs. When they pass targeted appending bills, like the examples below, they should market to the American people why that spending is necessary and why they are rejecting the Democrats calls for greater spending.
Job creation, crime reduction and border security are winning issues. Republicans can champion those issues with their power of the purse. Instead of passing omnibus bills that anger their base, Republicans should pursue a stand-alone bill that targets specific needs.
For instance, they should pass targeted border control bills. Each bill should be simple, straightforward and short – written in a way that the average person can read.
The otherwise unreadable $1.7 trillion dollar boondoggle bill just signed by President Biden has language that included funds for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. However, none of the funds could be used “to acquire, maintain, or extend border security technology and capabilities, except for technology and capabilities to improve Border Patrol processing.”
In response, Republicans should pass a very short bill, in plain English, to fund manpower needs supported by border control agents. Another short bill could address technology needs.
One by one, the bills should be sent to the Senate on the border, crime and job creation. Republicans should then campaign across the country, using sophisticated marketing, demonstrating why the manpower, technology, and more is needed. Why the tax code is hurting small business, etc.
Republicans should apply pressure to the Democrats and Biden to pass their simple, straightforward bills. By doing so, they can demonstrate to Americans that are solution oriented and, likely why Democrats are obstructionist on important issues. They also can set the table for controlling the narrative in 2024 and winning the House, Senate and White House.