First you win the argument, then you win the vote, Margaret Thatcher famously admonished. Republicans did neither.
Nothing better illustrates that failure than “47 percent.” Not the comment itself nor the good and decent person who uttered it, but, rather, the overall narrative of Republicans. Voters were convinced that the GOP is the party of “the rich” and that Democrats are the party of everybody else.
That characterization is false, but as long as a majority of Americans believe that Republican policies do not benefit them, Republicans will continue to lose.
And far too many Republicans believe it as well.
So let me suggest an alternative course: opportunity conservatism. Republicans should conceptualize and articulate every domestic policy with a single-minded focus on easing the ascent up the economic ladder.