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John Bender
 You're here » Christian Columns Index » Guest Writer

Can't Win The General Election
by John Bender
March 7, 2007
Category: Political
RUDY GIULIANI CAN'T win the general election. No matter how much some people in the Republican Party wish he could, he can't and here's why.

There is about 30% of the voting public in each camp who vote for the party no matter what. The Republicans have so-called conservatives who would vote for Arlen Specter rather than Thomas Jefferson, because Specter is a Republican and Jefferson was a Democrat. On the Democrat side, they have a group who would vote for Zell Miller rather than Lincoln Chafee, because Miller is a Democrat and Chafee is a Republican.

Neither of these groups have any political clout in the general election. They are irrelevant to the political debate.

Neither party, nor any politician, has to work to get their vote. Consequently, their issues are of no concern to either party.

The battle in every election is to get out the vote of people who lean toward a party or candidate, and to get the vote of issue voters. The 40% or so of voters who either switch their vote from party to party, or who withhold their vote, when dissatisfied, are the ones politicians have to court and motivate in any general election.

Neither the unmovable Republicans nor the unmovable Democrats are of any real interest to the respective parties. Those votes are there and counted before the polls ever open. The parties and individual politicians fight for and court the other 40% of the voters.

Rove knows this and spoke about it after the 2000 election and adjusted his campaign strategy in the 2004 election accordingly. In 2000 Evangelicals didn't turn out in their customary numbers and almost cost Bush the election. Rove was determined to change that and said so more than once between 2000 and 2004. In 2004, Rove made it a point to go after the Evangelical vote, including an unprecedented heavy Republican push in the nation's Black churches.

Evangelicals and other Christians responded by getting out and voting for Bush. This included a record 16% of the Black vote in Ohio, just about all of which came from the Black churches because of social issues like abortion, gay marriage, etc.

That 16% of the Black vote was not only almost double the percentage of Black votes the Republican historically gets in presidential elections, it was more than double the Black vote Bush got in Ohio in 2000. The increase was also more than Bush's margin of victory in Ohio. It gave him the election. Without the Black vote Bush would have lost Ohio and its 20 Electoral votes. Take those twenty votes from Bush and give them to Kerry and you have President Kerry no matter how Florida voted.

In fact, remove the increase in the Evangelical turnout nationally; and it is impossible for Bush to have won a second term. Rove worked on pushing those issues that motivate Evangelicals and it gave Bush a second term.

If the party again removes the Evangelicals who stayed home in 2000, PLUS some of the other social conservatives, some of the Second Amendment voters, and some of the defend the borders voters, there is no way one can come up with a GOP win in 2008.

The party isn't going to attract enough pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, pro-open borders, to offset the loss from the above mentioned groups. It just isn't going to happen.

Now, some in the 30% who are unmovable Republican voters are happy the party has moved to the Left and wish it would move a little farther Left. Others don't like the slide to the Left, but are so locked into the party they will accept the slide, vote a straight ticket and hope for a better candidate in the next election.

Those in the second category, they'd like a more conservative candidate, but will vote for whoever gets the GOP nomination, are actually helping assure that they will never get what they want in a candidate.

They are not helping get a more conservative candidate because they come right out and say they will vote for ANYBODY who the party nominates. They are making themselves irrelevant. Why should the party try to please them? They are going to vote for the party no matter what. They are telling the party to ignore them.

The people who make the party earn their vote are the ones who can push the party back to the Right. They are the ones that the politicians have to please.

Don't be fooled by the Republican establishment's mantra that someone is too conservative to win. They said the same thing about Reagan. Reagan twice showed that attracting social conservatives and fiscal conservatives produces landslide victories.

The Republican establishment doesn't like conservatives. They never liked Reagan. They didn't want the people to believe he would win in the general election. In 1976 Ford's Chief of Staff called Reaganites "right wing nuts", a term that also pops up in several Ford internal campaign memos from that year. In 1980 Bush the Elder said Reagan was an extremist and that his economic policies were "voodoo economics" that could never work in the real world.

None of this was true then and it isn't true now.

There are now four conservatives in the race for the Republican nomination; Rep. Ron Paul, Rep. Duncan Hunter, Governor Jim Gilmore, and Rep Tom Tancredo. Any one of these gentlemen could beat Hillary or Obama in the general election. Giuliani can't do it.

The Rockefeller Republicans, who are the party bosses, and the Doubting Thomas Republicans who are pushing for Giuliani's nomination are going to hand the election to the Democrats if they succeed in nominating Giuliani rather than a conservative. It's up to the party's base to stop that from happening.

The only real choice for the anybody-but-a-Democrat voters is to work to make sure one of the conservatives gets the nomination or accept the fact that they helped put a Democrat in the White House in 08.

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