GOP: 'Nationalize' the Midterms if You Want to Win

We've seen this movie before.

In the 2006 midterm elections, then-Democratic Party chairman John Dean and Senate and House Democrats, desperate to win control from the Republicans, pressured convinced the extreme left of their party in the centrist and conservative states in the "red" heartland to stand down and allow more centrist House and Senate candidates to pose run as "moderates," with campaigns tailored to the their state's voters' sensitivities.

It worked.

The success of [Dean's] strategy became apparent after the 2006 midterm elections, where Democrats took back the House and picked up seats in the Senate from normally Republican states[.]

The strategy worked in 2006, and it will work in 2018, as we just saw in the recent Pennsylvania congressional special election, where self-described moderate Democrat Conor Lamb defeated Republican Rick Saccone – in a congressional district that Trump won by 20 points.

For a Dean-style 50 State Strategy, Lamb had an ideal résumé – former Marine, former assistant federal prosecutor – and claimed the right positions – pro-life, pro-Second Amendment.

Oh, and he promised to vote against Nancy Pelosi for speaker – to which this writer says, "So what?"

Remember this guy?

Former Michigan congressman Bart Stupak, like Conor Lamb, was, or at least professed to be, staunchly pro-life throughout his political career.

Or at least, he was...right up until the moment Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi needed his vote to pass Obamacare (emphases added):

With the health care bill [the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, AKA "Obamacare"] teetering in the balance, antiabortion Democrat Rep. Bart Stupak's announcement hours before the final vote that an agreement had been reached on the abortion issue marked a momentous shift.

For weeks, Stupak insisted he and a group of other abortion foes in the House could not support the Senate bill because it would result in federal funding of abortions, contrary to longstanding federal policy.  But on the afternoon of March 21, 2010, Stupak said in a news conference that the promise of an executive order on abortion from President Barack Obama convinced him "there will be no public funding of abortion in this legislation."

And so Bart and his ostensibly pro-life cohorts voted for Obamacare, Obama signed it into law, and ever since, Democrats have been working overtime to change Obamacare (and break the promise Barack Obama personally made to Stupak) to allow the federal government to subsidize elective abortions (emphases added):

Months of health insurance negotiations led by two senators with a track record of producing bipartisan bills ended abruptly last week[.] ...

The stumbling block: a ban on federal funding of abortions.

As for Bart Stupak, soon after betraying both his principles and his voters, he retired rather than face the wrath of his constituents, outraged by his abrupt, unprincipled volte face.  By then, the damage was done.

Twelve years later, we can draw three conclusions – and three propositions that should form the core of every GOP House and Senate candidate's campaign in 2018:

  1. Notwithstanding Conor Lamb's (and any other Democratic candidate's) promise to oppose Nancy Pelosi for speaker, the plain fact is, if Democrats win control of the House, Nancy Pelosi will virtually certainly have more than enough Democratic votes to be elected speaker, such that Lamb's vote for a different candidate won't matter.  Ditto for all the other goodies on the left's wish list: amnesty for millions of illegal aliens, gun control, free college tuition, and single-payer health care.  In any conceivable Democratic caucus, there simply will not be enough centrist Democrats to derail the liberals' priorities.
  2. Conversely, if Democrats win back the House and, by some miracle, there are enough centrist Dems to defeat liberal legislation, if Pelosi's candidacy or the passage of any major Democrat-written House legislation hangs on a single vote, or even handful of votes, can anyone seriously believe that Pelosi (or any other speaker) will not get those votes?  Ditto for a Democratic Senate, certain to be led by über-liberal Chuck Schumer.

This leads to the third, and most important, point:

  1. When voters go to the polls in November, they will be voting not merely for a senator or representative to represent their states or congressional districts.  They will be voting for control of the whole House and Senate.

If you fear for the Second Amendment, what will it matter if your representative is a gun-totin', Second Amendment-supporting former Marine if the House and Senate are controlled by Second Amendment-hating, gun-controlling fanatics?

If you like Obamacare, you'll love European-style socialist, single-payer, welfare-state Pelosicare.  Don't like either?  Then why on Earth would you cast a vote that gives her and her liberal ilk the ability to pass it?

If you believe in a strong military and soldiers who march in combat boots instead of high heels, why would you cast a vote for a Democratic candidate, no matter how conservative, if it means transferring funding, training, and overseeing of our armed forces to people who subordinate the needs of our warriors to the agenda of social justice warriors?

And so on.  For issue after issue, a vote for a Democratic candidate, no matter how conservative, is, in the end, for all practical purposes, a vote for a progressive House and Senate.

Pace Tip O'Neill, this is no time for "all politics [to be] local."  Every Republican candidate – in personal appearances, debates, advertising, wherever and whenever possible – needs to "nationalize" the 2018 midterms, by pointing out the extreme values of the overwhelming majority of Democrats – the national party – and tie the local Democratic candidate to the national party.

Whenever a Democratic candidate tries to separate himself from the national party – the Bernie Sanderses, the Nancy Pelosis, the Maxine Waterses, the Keith Ellisons – it is the GOP opponent's duty to reel him back in.

When an ostensibly moderate or centrist or conservative Democrat claims that the liberal Democrats' values are not his values, the GOP candidate should respond, "You are an honorable person, and I take you at your word.  But you and I both know that you and your beliefs are a minority in today's Democratic Party.  The values you decry may indeed not be yours.  But they are the values of the majority of your fellow Democrats, and the Democratic majority's values, their beliefs, their governing philosophy, their legislation, not yours, will prevail, if electing you hands control of the House/Senate to the Democrats."

Is the Stupid Party stupid enough to let the Democrats' 2006 strategy work a second time?  Experience dictates that that's the way to bet.  Yet hope springs eternal in the human heart, as does the urge to give advice, especially advice no one asked for.

"Nationalizing" the midterms – tying individual Democratic House and Senate candidates to the national, majority-far-left Democratic Party – is the GOP's best chance to survive the 2018 midterms.

Gene Schwimmer is a New York- and New Jersey-licensed real estate broker and author of The Christian State.

Image: Dave Winer via Flickr.