How to win the Obama-Walker voters

There are independent, reform-minded voters in every state. In times of crisis, they want leadership—from either party. What I have learned is that if you step forward and offer a reform agenda that is hopeful and optimistic, they may give you a shot. More important, if you deliver, they will stick with you.

The way Republicans can win those in the middle is not by abandoning their principles. To the contrary, the courage to stand on principle is what these voters respect. The way to win the center is to lead.

That’s why those arguing that conservatives have to “moderate” their views if they want to appeal to the country are so wrong. If our principles were the problem, then why are so many Republican governors winning elections by campaigning on them? Since Barack Obama took office in 2009, the GOP has gone from controlling both the legislature and governor’s mansion in nine states to 23 states today. Not one sitting Republican governor has lost a general election since 2007.

Republicans did not win those races by running from principles. They won by applying principles in ways that are relevant to the lives of citizens.