Jenny Beth Martin via The Hill:
Ronald Reagan ran for reelection in 1984 with a conservative vision of free-market economic growth and tough foreign policy to confront the Soviet Union. His opponent, Walter Mondale, ran a conventional liberal campaign, going so far as to actually promise to raise taxes if elected. Result? Reagan won 49 states.
In 1994, popular outrage at the overreach of the Clinton administration led to Republicans nationalizing the midterm election with the Contract With America, a clear counterpoint to the Big Government campaigns of many Democrats. Result? The GOP captured 54 seats in the House of Representatives and, for the first time in more than a century, defeated the sitting Speaker of the House in his race for reelection.
Sixteen years later, the nation was mired in the Great Recession; hundreds of billions of tax dollars were being spent on corporate bailouts, people were losing their homes, and Obamacare was a reality. These events gave rise to the Tea Party movement and demands for more fiscally responsible policies. Result? After the votes of November 2, 2010, were counted, Republicans picked up an astonishing 63 House seats.
These historic landslides were not the result of timidity. They were earned by principled conservatives who gave the nation a clear and unambiguous vision that encompassed personal freedom, economic freedom and a debt-free future; a vision that drew a stark contrast with the liberal status quo of the moment. Today, we are living in another of those moments.
Republicans are ideally positioned to provide this alternative vision; the question is whether they will. If public opinion polling is to be believed, the GOP is on the brink of capturing a majority in the Senate while expanding its numbers in the House. Not surprisingly, the conventional wisdom among the Republican consulting class is to lay low, keep quiet and let the GOP wave roll in next month. It’s a safe strategy but they can do so much better.
Reagan did not win 49 of 50 states by laying low. Republicans did not register historic congressional gains in 1994 and 2010 by keeping quiet. These landslides were won because conservatives proudly announced their ideas for a better, stronger America. They did not merely win by virtue of not losing; they earned a mandate by boldly offering an alternative vision.
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