To win on blue, think anew

Democratic chairman Howard Dean was ridiculed for his 50-state strategy, but who's laughing now? Dems just made big gains in states that had been red for many years. Here in Colorado, there are clearly red and blue legislative districts. For instance, in 2008, my district (House District 10 in Boulder) voted 75% for the Democratic candidate. The operative question for Colorado Republicans is, what should we do about blue districts? For instance, is it a good idea to nominate a liberal Republican in a blue district?

Matching candidates to districts is a tough issue. I think the GOP is a big tent in many ways. While social conservatives are an extremely important part of the GOP coalition, I believe it is perfectly reasonable to match a social moderate candidate to a socially moderate district. What we can’t do is nominate RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) – this dilutes the message of mainstream Republicans in other districts. Aren’t you embarrassed by what some GOP congressmen have said and done, all while claiming to be a conservative?

The key quality for candidates in blue geographies is the ability to articulate why and how freedom-centered policies benefit different audiences. For instance, school choice should sell well to parents in failing school districts; and anyone should be able to see how reining in the runaway tort system would make health care more affordable. I would prefer that candidates in these long-shot districts take courageous stands on big-picture policy ideas, and not seek to pander with small ideas. Make it clear, make it fresh, and make it relevant. We offer a common sense approach to problems real people face. We are not the tired old Republicans of years past – we are New Republicans: grounded in applying principals of freedom for a more civil, more prosperous, and freer society.

Most Coloradans don’t care what team a potential representative is on – they care that their representative understands their challenges, can articulate policy solutions to help, and act with integrity and character to enact those policies. We win the greatest number of races not by sounding like imitation Democrats, but by candidate’s articulating in both intellectual and emotional language why our principals are better for the people of their district.