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November 10, 2014

Philip Klein: If You Want to Win Over Moderates, Nominate a Real Conservative

Interesting take.

His basic idea is that moderates like Romney come into the election compromised -- compromised by being moderates in a process that dictates only a genuine conservative can win -- and thus make overly-strident and under-considered pitches to the right, in order to placate them.

These pitches, being spasmodic and incoherent and sometimes more "extreme" than genuine real conservative philosophy, then hurt the candidate with moderates.

In recent presidential election cycles, a common criticism has been that the Republican nomination process has devolved into a "purity contest." What this misses is that the only reason this spectacle has taken place is that the candidates who were running did not have the inherent trust of conservatives. And when this is the case, candidates make fools of themselves in trying to reassure the right....

In 2012, [Romney] was able to win the nomination, but because he lacked an actually conservative philosophical mindset, he didnít know how to make conservative arguments in an appealing manner and as a result he ended up looking foolish...

The deeper issue is that when the Republican nominee is somebody who conservatives are suspicious of, the nominee has to spend the whole primary trying to convince conservatives that he or she agrees with them, and then the general election constantly reassuring them that he or she isn't going to abandon the right just because the nomination has been sewn up. This leads to incoherent campaign messaging.

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posted by Ace at 02:49 PM

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