I began writing this article as I was sitting at the MNGOP State Central Committee meeting last Saturday and listing to state republican leaders discussing the future of the party. At these meetings there is seldom, if ever, a consensus on future direction of the party. This meeting was no exception, however, there was unanimous agreement that the party needs to raise money and that it needs to be reformed and rebranded with contemporary libertarian messages that attract moderate and younger voters.
I ran an “educational” campaign for the Deputy Chair position about a year ago, after harshly criticizing Tony Sutton, Michael Brodkorb and the Minnesota GOP under their guard for the previous two years. Reforming the state party was the focus of my campaign.
Our party monumentally failed in the shortest time possible. Not only did we screw up so badly in two years that we lost the house and the senate, but we did so in opposition to the most unpopular president in generations. If we can’t rally under fire, then we’ll never be able to win when times are good. Something is wrong; very wrong.
It is easy to throw rocks at the people who are doing the work of the party. Both Pat Shortridge and Kelly Fenton have done yeoman’s work trying to resurrect the Minnesota Republican Party. For their work they should be applauded. However, it is clear that this party cannot continue the status quo if it is to survive and if it is to oppose the left and defend the principles of freedom and sound constitutional government. This isn’t about inside baseball or party politics. This is about making serious reforms. This is about defending our liberty so that our children may grow up in a country that is more free than the one we live in today.
We tell ourselves that our ideas and our policies are superior to those of the left. We claim that our ideas, our product alone, should resonate and sell with Minnesota voters. While I believe that our ideas are better and that our policies are more sound, we have failed to sell the public. This is what the election results tell us. We failed to make a convincing argument, we failed to promote ourselves.
If we do not learn how to change our message, and to attract young voters, woman, minorities and gays, our party will continue to lose, forever. We cannot maintain the current course and drastic changes are necessary if we’re to continue the fight, let alone be successful at challenging the policies of the left in Minnesota.
The way that our party has used media during key races is foolish and ignorant. We do too much attacking and not enough time providing alternative policy solutions. The left believes that the average Minnesotan is weak; they believe that the government should punish the strong so they may help the weak. We need to communicate policies that reflect the best of what Minnesota has to offer. Our solutions need to communicate that the strong can be successful while helping the needy.
We need to stop bashing the poor. Those living in poverty are not our enemies. Our enemies are those who take advantage and profit from poverty; the government. We need to demonstrate compassion and develop policies that harness the best that we have to offer to help the poor while also making government more honest.
We need to learn to stop using the government to dictate our morality onto others by the force of law. We will not always be successful in convincing others of our perspectives, but we must not resort to legislating our morality in areas where consensual behavior is concerned. It is immoral to use the government to take from one man’s pocket and give to another against his will. It is also immoral to tell a man what he can and cannot do within the confines of his own home, when he is not hurting anyone.
We must end stealing from the poor and giving to the wealthy. Subsidies are a form of central planning. Subsidies destroy the economy and strip it of much needed jobs and small business creation.
These things are only the beginning. There are many more areas within the MNGOP that need reform, but let this be the beginnings of a blueprint that opens the doors for critical self-examination and discussion of what the future may hold for us. Let this be the beginning of the conversation, not the end.