The Power of the Problem-Solving Promise
What do the top two winners in the New Hampshire Republican primary have in common?
Both Donald Trump and Gov. John Kasich have made a promise to, if elected, work with leaders from both parties in Congress to set goals and work on some of our nation’s most pressing problems, without delay. Their success in New Hampshire is validation of their commitment to goals-based leadership with all-important independent voters – a voting bloc that the next president will need in order to win in November.
Both Trump and Kasich made the No Labels “Presidential Problem Solver Promise” last month, and we heard both candidates use the No Labels message on the campaign trail. When asked by New Hampshire voters how he would work with Congress, Trump said he’d bring the two political parties together.
Gov. Kasich made his intentions very clear by saying this, on Monday: "At the end of the day, we've got to come together to fix things, and it doesn't matter whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, it's all about being an American. Together, we can fix anything."
That statement was similar to much of what Kasich said on the debate stage Saturday night, and it was a concise representation of the point of that promise he and Mr. Trump made to the American people in January. There can be no doubt that the message appealed enormously to voters in a swing state with a high percentage of independent voters.
Both candidates promised to, if elected, work with both parties in Congress on at least one of the four goals of the No Labels National Strategic Agenda within 30 days of entering office. The four goals are:
- Create 25 million new jobs over the next 10 years
- Secure Social Security and Medicare for the next 75 years
- Balance the federal budget by 2030
- Make America energy secure by 2024
Candidates still in the field who seek to come up with a new competitive advantage going forward may want to consider the Problem Solver Promise, or at least look at why the message of problem solving – through a process of goal setting and bipartisan collaboration – works so well, especially with independent voters in swing states like New Hampshire. A No Labels poll of likely New Hampshire voters early this year found that seven in 10 were more likely to vote for a candidate who made the No Labels Promise.
Political observers have spent months examining and dissecting the frustration and anger that is so prevalent in the electorate this year, but few have identified what salve might soothe and inspire the angry voter. We believe a hopeful message of problem solving is one of the answers -- if not the only answer -- and that message was just successfully road-tested in New Hampshire.
It helps to think about it this way: Voters are looking for a real solution to the problems that decades of partisan politics have left unresolved. Regardless of your political leaning, there is appeal in the idea that a deliberate process – one that begins with goal setting and is followed by negotiating policy details – would bring forward momentum to our stuck federal government.
A promise to follow this process is good policy and good politics, and for any candidate who hopes to eventually impress swing-state voters, it is something they must consider embracing.