Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., running for the Senate, has exactly the right idea on how Republicans should portray their agenda for the 2018 midterm elections.
Rokita, who is in an intense primary election fight with Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind., and businessman Mike Braun, is clearly campaigning to the Right to gain an advantage with conservative voters.
Last week, Rokita released a new TV ad called “FIGHT BACK,” in which he took on the “liberal elites” who “disrespect our flag,” “riot in the streets and attack our police,” and want “open borders” and “amnesty.”
The fiery ad goes after Colin Kaepernick and the NFL protests, “politically correct” politicians like Democratic leaders Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and stresses Rokita’s pro-life, pro-gun, and pro-Trump positions.
But the GOP consultant class doesn’t want candidates to talk about building a wall on the southern border or making English the official language of the United States.
As Politico’s James Arkin reports, “Republican strategists and pollsters have urged their candidates to focus entirely on the economy and the benefits from last year’s tax cuts, believing a strong economy is their best bet to defy the trend of a president’s party losing seats in the midterms.”
Arkin notes that in this ad, Rokita is trying a different tactic but speculates that focusing on cultural issues could “turn off critical moderate and independent voters in the general election.”
This is exactly the wrong take.
As the polling repeatedly showed, the SJW protests during the national anthem were a turn-off for the American people. On the immigration issue, majorities support President Trump’s calls to secure the border and restrict immigration. And even at a time when polling is beginning to show increased support for gun control, historically this support fades after mass shootings, when it becomes clear that the gun-confiscation policies pushed for by Democrats would do nothing to stop mass shootings.
At a time when the activist base of the Democratic Party is showing energy, conservatives cannot afford to cede our arguments to the Left by being silent. Rokita, who holds a “D” Liberty Score®, isn’t exactly a stalwart conservative culture warrior. But he understands that the conservative message resonates with the American people, who find the Left intolerant and intolerable.
Focusing on the anti-Americanism of the Democratic Party, defending the Second Amendment, and running on the immigration issues that put Donald Trump in the White House make up the only viable message that could mitigate Republican losses in November. Betting everything on an economy and stock market that’s about to tank because the president wants to start a trade war — and ignoring the issues that matter to Americans — will put Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer back in power.
Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
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