Below is a guest post from Representative Geoff Duncan of the 26th district in Forsyth County. Duncan serves on the Banks & Banking, Interstate Cooperation, and Science and Technology committees. He lives in Cumming with his wife Brooke and three sons.
How many Americans are one issue away from voting for a Republican? How many Americans consider themselves conservative, but because of just one issue, they find themselves voting for a party other than the Republican Party on Election Day? The exact answer to this question may be unknown, but I assert that it is in the millions and growing exponentially every day.
Republicans across our country have fallen into the trap of telling voters on the other side all about why they are wrong, instead of showing them by example why Republicans are correct. Our party’s supporters are quick to poke someone in the eye who doesn’t agree with 100% of our party’s values and even quicker to cast them off as a lost cause. These alienating conversations are happening every day around the water cooler at work, in our neighborhoods, at our Capitols and in our mailboxes. And in case anyone hasn’t noticed, they’re not working.
Republicans have informally adopted two distinctly different paths forward to grow the party nationally. The first is to convince everyone in the middle that they are wrong, and therefore they need to vote for Republicans with a strong sense of blind trust. The second is to move the party’s values more toward the middle, thus attracting millions of votes. My opinion is that both of these informal strategies are flawed and will never produce the votes and, more important, the loyalty necessary to reclaim this great nation. Not because folks don’t mean well in their approach, but because voters in the middle are tired of being vilified and poked at for not having the exact same convictions. Republicans have prodded them so hard for so long that instead of changing their minds, we’ve oftentimes changed their votes.
I propose a new strategy: one that won’t cost the party a dime and can be rolled out immediately all over this country. All 55 million registered Republicans wake up tomorrow and look for ways to create conversations with the voters in the middle instead of creating conflicts. Look for ways to show them, by example, that Republicans have their families, businesses and communities’ best interests at the top of their agenda. Look for opportunities to have engaging conversations with those in the middle about our party’s tireless commitment to freedom. Reassure them that the Republicans’ vision for success includes every American, even those who might not agree with us on a particular issue. Communicate with a very clear tone that our party’s vision for success is so wide and so broad that it even includes those who don’t vote for us. All the while, remember that at no time does this approach require anyone or any group to alter, adjust or soften their personal convictions nor does it require the party to change its platform. What it does require is a change of mentality that embraces the notion of no longer being obsessed with making a point and starting to be obsessed with making a difference. This party has got to win millions of Americans’ hearts before we can win their votes.
Some may say this approach is too soft, to which I would counter that it takes a much stronger person to convince someone to vote for you than it does to condemn someone into voting for you. “In God We Trust” is more than a motto in this country. It’s a living, breathing model for how to spread a successful and uplifting message from coast to coast.