Ever since the election, I’ve been thinking about the voter registration statistics and how and when we can get back into the game. On my old website I posted a few articles titled, “Restructuring the Party.” These articles focused on ideas and methods to increase our voter registration totals as well as make the Republican Party of Iowa more relevant to campaigns across Iowa. Without the Party’s success, we will have sporadic victories but limited periods of domination.
In November of last year, Republicans had a voter registration disadvantage of 106,442 voters. As of yesterday, Republicans are down even more to 107,877. (It should be noted we were down by 111,219 last month – hopefully a trend is starting.)
It is to be expected to have a slow shift from Democrat to Republican when the Democrats have complete control. But what can we do to speed up our march back to significance in the political process? To answer that question, it’s best to look at what Democrats did to retake control. It’s also important to look to what Republicans did – or did not do – to lose control. Of the many reasons, here is my take on an important few:
First, Democrats had a villain and an issue – President Bush and the war.
Second, Democrats had a machine to crank out votes. With absentee and early voting advantages, the Democrats won most elections before Election Day arrived.
Third, with passion for an issue comes free labor. Their hatred towards Bush and the war fueled the tanks of millions of volunteers.
And now onto the Republicans.
First, Republicans failed their supporters by running to the middle. You can’t win elections by turning on those who elected you. And you surely can’t advance your cause by advancing your opponent’s cause.
Second, Republicans have relied on a weak 72 hour program. Trying to turn out millions of votes the three days before the election is like showing up to a football game at the two minute warning.
Third, we didn’t have an issue. There were no major reforms passed and none pushed by Republican majorities at the state or national level. We can’t expect to sign up new voters without anything for them to support.
So back to the voter registration data. What has been done to sign up new Republican voters? Has there been an absentee ballot program sketched out to match or exceed the Democrats’ proven winner? Has the present Democratic majority latched onto any major reform to rejuvenate our base and increase Republican registrations?
We can’t expect to regain our majorities by doing the minimum or less. We absolutely must develop ideas and plans to leapfrog the opposition. Because if we don’t, we can expect to continue down the road of liberalism.
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