The birth of extremism: The more extreme that liberals were perceived, the more vocal and adamant the tea party became. It has escalated to a point of absolute entrenchment. The result is legislative gridlock that is counterproductive to either party and particularly harmful to the overall future of this country. All Americans are open to progress, but there is a large disconnect between those who think that progress means to eliminate or permanently alter the very elements that made our country great and those who believe in proven approaches toward future advancement. It is no accident that we have an immigration problem because despite our imperfections, we are still considered by many across the globe to be that shining city on the hill.
Where does that leave us in upcoming elections, when 85 percent of Americans essentially despise Congress? No Democrat wants to go home and admit to supporting Obamacare. No Republican wants to go home to admit that closing the government made absolutely no difference. Few Americans want to vote for incumbents, yet we cannot run the most powerful country in the world with amateurs! A Super Bowl is not won by a team of disconnected rookies, and you would never trust an inexperienced person to coach that NFL team, regardless of how nice or honorable they may be, or how much they loved the game, because running a champion team requires a unique skillset, talent and experience. Running our country is infinitely more complex, and in today’s world, experience has never been more vital.
No party branding? If you don’t run as the representative of your party, then what’s left to run on? The issues — what a concept! Gov. Christie discovered this during his campaign and made the decision to not mention the word “Republican” in any of his campaign material; his opponent followed suit, which left only the issues. Christie won by an overwhelming majority.
The truth is that when faced with the pros and cons of a problem, most people will lean toward the more conservative solution; not much different than how they run their households. Very few people will take risks with their family’s future. Often, when voting for a party, you vote for an idea or theory, which upon implementation may not actually produce the desired results. When it comes to your family, you will generally choose a proven strategy. Theoretical experimentation by amateurs is best enjoyed on television, not in your home. Our country deserves no less.
The 2014 elections will need to be about the critical issues this country faces and not partisan rhetoric. This is particularly true when running in states dominated by the opposing party. The D or R or even T-P words may get you expelled from the game. Many are opting for the “independent” label, which doesn’t run blue or red; they have comfortably moved into the purple zone and want solutions, not talking points. The fact is that even if every party member voted for their candidate, it would not be enough to secure the election. Both sides need to address the “purples” and speak directly to the issues.
This does not mean that the party’s platform changes or even weakens; it simply means that the focus must be on results, not theory. After all, isn’t it the collection of values, ideas and objectives that create a party platform? Those results must again become their leadership and legacy, not political banter.
The candidate’s vision must extend beyond the next election cycle, understanding that sometimes you must defer one goal for the implementation of another. Certain legislation may be for the benefit of future generations, perhaps at the cost of the current one, with the objective being that we pass on a better America than the one we inherited. However, the voter must understand that it is essential to the progress of this great nation that we establish common ground and adapt policies to meet the needs of all Americans, not just those of the reigning party. Liberty and freedom were established by an exchange of different ideas that were molded together into our Constitution; and we proudly call that collaboration “democracy.”
Jacqueline Cartier, who has more than 25 years of political communications experience and is the president and CEO of Winning Images, recently moved back to Eagle-Vail from Washington, D.C. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 202-271-4165. Visit her website at www.cartierwinningimages.com.