To save the Republican Party, look to the states

House and Senate Republicans are nearly always in the position of talking about what they’re against — what they want to block or repeal or defund. Those are process arguments. And they tend to be negative.

Like many conservatives, I often feel angry and frustrated that more Americans aren’t more angry and frustrated. But while expressing anger and frustration resonates with core voters who already agree with us, it doesn’t do much for independents who are worried about themselves and their families, and pessimistic about the country’s future. They want to hear optimism. They want to hear how political leaders will improve their lives.

Congressional Republicans are absolutely right to oppose President Obama’s harmful policies. But they’d be better off if they spent less time talking about process and more time speaking in positive and tangible terms about what they support and how they’ll help — as state Republican leaders do.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker recently put it this way: “We talk in terms that are more relevant. Give you a good example: sequesters. Most people, that goes right over their head. Debt ceilings, fiscal cliffs. We talk about making our kids’ schools better. We talk about balancing our budgets so we can live within our means. We talk about helping our neighbor get a job again.”

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