It’s been a long year coming, but the launch date of my upcoming book Going Red has almost arrived — Tuesday, April 12th. I began writing it almost exactly a year ago, not long after the 2015 CPAC, when Crown Forum asked me to consider writing a book based on a concept they had developed about swing states and the Republican Party. By this time in April 2015, I had written a book proposal that expanded that concept and reached agreement to write the book, and by the beginning of May I had begun to travel to the seven states and counties that form the core of Going Red.
Next week, I start touring for the book in New York City for media appearances, about which more in a moment. Since filing the manuscript, I have received formal and informal feedback on the book, including some very generous blurbs from writers and media figures whom I respect and admire. I’ve waited to see how others would review the book, and Real Clear Politics published the first review of the book yesterday from Hoover Institution scholar and Stanford University professor Peter Berkowitz. Professor Berkowitz included it as part of his argument that the Republican nominee has to hold the moderates in the big tent while inspiring conservative voters, and find ways to expand the party, especially in swing states:
In “Going Red: The Two Million Voters Who Will Elect the Next President—and How Conservatives Can Win Them,” Ed Morrissey presents the results of his visits to seven swing counties in seven swing states to listen to voters, learn what moves them, and ascertain what they seek in a presidential candidate. In 2004, George W. Bush won Hillsborough County Fla.; Hamilton County, Ohio; Wake County, N.C.; Prince William County, Va.; Brown County, Wis.; Jefferson County, Colo.; and Hillsborough County, N.H. In 2008 and again in 2012, Barack Obama won them. If Republicans get their act together, Morrissey argues, they could retake these bellwether communities in 2016 and, with them, the presidency.
It’s a big if. Morrissey’s main findings are compelling, though they will not surprise those familiar with polling data or acquainted with the America that lies beyond large urban centers and the first ring of big-city suburbs. To get their act together, Republicans must, consistent with their principles, moderate their message. …
What is striking about the measured exploration of the moderation of America’s swing voters in “Going Red” is its source. A longtime radio talk show host and pioneer in the conservative blogosphere, Ed Morrissey launched Captains’ Quarters in 2003 and, in 2008, moved to HotAir.com where he has continued his incisive opining and rich reporting. Morrissey is a committed conservative well versed in the fundamentals of limited government and attentive to the claims of traditional morality.
His book is a hopeful sign that amid the tumult of this particularly perplexing election year, influential conservative media figures at home in the grassroots appreciate that the defense of conservative principles depends on the exercise, and respect for the exercise, of moderation.
It’s a fine review, and Berkowitz’ argument should be read in full as well. If I had one point to clarify, it’s that the book does not argue that policy should be moderated, but that messaging and framing of policy and issues should be offered positively and commonalities embraced — which is Berkowitz’ point, too. He gets to the heart of the book with this insight:
To obtain their votes, the GOP will have to greatly improve its ground game. But this goes beyond catching up with the Obama camp’s expertise in collecting block-by-block and house-by-house voter data to micro-target potential supporters. It requires candidates to go into the community to meet voters, listen to citizens’ hopes and fears, and fashion policies that will bring opportunity and prosperity to middle-class men and women who have not fully shared in the nation’s economic recovery.
That’s especially true in the swing states, where elections are won and lost. If the GOP wants to expand its reach in presidential elections, the nominee has to campaign locally with messages crafted for each community that contextualizes the issues within their own lives. The 30,000-foot slogan-based campaign model has failed twice in a row, and will fail again in November. That’s true no matter who the nominee is, and Going Red’s strategy could be used by any nominee. In fact, the book does not discuss the relative merits of any candidate, but instead focuses on the voters.
Basically, the GOP’s nominee has to get to know voters and communities — and so do the rest of us. Penguin Randomhouse has a sample of the audio version of Going Red, recorded by me at Babble-On Studios here in south Minneapolis. It’s available for order now at the link above or through the book website, GoingRedBook.com. In this clip taken from the very start of Going Red, I describe the shock we experienced on Election Night in 2012 when we realized we didn’t know these voters at all:
As I noted earlier, the folks at Crown Forum have quite a schedule laid out for me this week on the book tour. Today I’ll be on AM 1280 The Patriot‘s Northern Alliance Radio Network in the Twin Cities (1-3 CT) with my old radio partner Mitch Berg to discuss the book and the race in the second hour. After that, I begin to prepare for a long but exciting week of travel ahead, and so far that schedule includes these media appearances:
Tuesday, April 12th (publication day, all times Eastern) – New York City
- 6-7 am: Hugh Hewitt Show on Salem
- 8:30 am: Morning Joe, MSNBC
- 9:30 am: The John Cardillo Show
- 1 pm: The Tom Sullivan Show, Fox (TV)
Wednesday, April 13th – New York City
- 3:40 pm – The Steve Malzberg Show, Newsmax
- 4:30 pm – The Dana Loesch Show, The Blaze
- 8 pm – PJTV
- 9:15 pm – 790 Talk Now/99.1 FM Talk in Las Vegas, NV (by phone)
Thursday, April 14th – Washington DC
- 12 noon – Heritage Foundation book party and talk (click link to RSVP or watch online)
- 5 pm – Meet the Press Daily taping with Chuck Todd, NBC
- 8:30 pm – Mark Levin Show
More events will be added, and I will update the schedule each day. After this week, I am scheduled to be in the following areas for the tour thus far:
- Raleigh, NC – April 18 & 19
- Wisconsin – Milwaukee April 21, Appleton April 22
- Denver, CO – April 27
We have events cooking for May as well in Cincinnati, Northern Virginia, and Florida, and we are still working on New Hampshire. It will be a busy two months, but readers can get a head start by ordering Going Red now!
Update: Right Wisconsin has partnered with us for the events in Milwaukee. I’ll be on the air with Charlie Sykes and at Buck Bradley’s on April 21st, and on the air with Jerry Bader on a live remote from Krieger Jewelry.