GOP Can Get Swing Voters

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A false choice dominates Republican thinking: Move to the center to get independents even though it offends your base and your principles, or you run to the right, lose swing voters and pray that the higher turnout will help you win.

But that dichotomy applies only to social issues like abortion or gay marriage where the extremes of both sides distrust the middle.

There is a plethora of ways to capture swing voters without compromising the conservative base -- issues that animate and motivate the base but also attract independent voters. These are the issues that Republicans can use to win.

Immigration and Income Inequality: Swing voters oppose Obama's amnesty for immigrants coming to this country illegally and are appalled by his open border that lets in hundreds of thousands of Central American children who showed up on our doorstep.

But while Republicans see immigration as a law and order or a cultural values issue, swing voters see it as an economic challenge. For them, immigration and income inequality merge as political issues.

The essence of triangulation is to use your tools to fix their car. Use the tool of opposition to illegal immigration to fix the economic inequality car. Republicans should oppose illegal immigration because of its economic impact on American workers. The millions who come here and settle on the bottom of the economic ladder block the upward progress of those already on the lower rungs who want to move up.

The Center for Immigration Studies reports that Census data shows that the proportion of native born Americans who have full-time jobs has risen by only 0.1 percent since 2000 while among others (immigrants who entered legally and illegally and naturalized citizens) it has risen by 5.7 percent in the same period. Virtually all jobs created since 2000 have gone to people who were not born in the U.S.

Blue-collar Americans have always been threatened by immigration and remain so today. Republicans can win their votes.

Obamacare: From the beginning, Americans have opposed Obamacare. The latest Rasmussen Poll (April 27, 2015), like so many others, shows 42-54 disapproval of the program. Republicans can attract swing voters by pounding away at Obamacare. It was Mitt Romney's handicap that his record in Massachusetts made him unable to do so.

But while Republicans should attack the law's mandates, taxes, lack of choice, quality of care, and every other aspect of the program, they should take care to support its ban on rejection for pre-existing conditions and on terminating coverage or raising rates during illness.

Wall Street: Republicans must reject the Wall Street wing of the Party and go after the small businessman and entrepreneur instead.

These voters -- and almost all swing voters -- share the view that Wall Street is predatory, self-interested, fraudulent and deceitful.

They blanch at the fact that none of the miscreants who caused the subprime mortgage crisis are in jail or are likely to go. Elizabeth Warren's arguments cater to voters of all types and Republicans should pick up her lines of attack.

Guns: There has been an important change in popular attitudes toward guns. In 1990, Gallup reports that 78 percent of Americans favored stricter gun controls, while only 19 percent wanted looser controls or supported the current laws. Now it's reversed. Only 47 percent want stricter controls and 52 percent support current laws or want less regulation. In 1993, Americans said that having a gun in the house makes it a more dangerous place by 52-42. Now they say it makes home a safer place by 63-30.

Swings like this offer enormous political opportunities to use guns to pick up swing voters. (Not necessarily AK-47 assault rifles, but handguns).

Focusing on these issues is the real way to win elections. Keep your base, but reach out to the center on the issues where you find common ground. 


Morris, a former political adviser to Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and President Bill Clinton, is the author of "Outrage." To get all of Dick Morris’s and Eileen McGann’s columns for free by email, go to www.dickmorris.com.

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COPYRIGHT 2015 DICK MORRIS AND EILEEN MCGANN
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