Stuart Stevens is not terribly well-known to the public. A quick summary: he was the guy in charge of making sure Mitt Romney’s campaign failed in a most spectacular fashion. While this should disqualify him, much as it should Karl Rove, from ever again weighing in on how the GOP should win elections, Stevens has the solution:
Send out the young Republicans!
For 2016, the Democrats seem headed toward a fight between Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. Both launched their careers in the 1970s; what will their slogan be, “Another Century of Service”?
On our side, we have Paul Ryan, Nikki Haley, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Susana Martinez and more. Who has the best opportunity to win that generational battle?
To be fair, Stevens also makes the point that the GOP needs to “speak for the majority of Americans.” What he fails to do is explain what that means beyond supporting gay marriage and free contraception. He points out, not inaccurately, that the Boomers are more concerned with economics while the young are more concerned with social policies. What Stevens fails to point out is the growing awareness among the young that social politics and economic politics are deeply intertwined. Denying a woman contraception is more than just an assault on her reproductive rights but also an assault on her economic potential. The same goes for pay equality and even same-sex marriage. The economic benefits of marriage are numerous and they are being denied to same-sex couples. This places them at a distinct economic disadvantage.
Stevens goes on to, like so many other conservative “experts,” completely underestimates the power of social media:
Barack Obama was able to forge a powerful community in 2008 because of his message. Technology conveyed that message to millions, nurtured it and help harvest their votes. But he didn’t win because he won the Facebook wars; he won the Facebook wars because he was winning.
This is incorrect. One of the greatest powers of social media is the ability to expose right wing distortions and hypocrisy almost in real time. Mitt Romney ran one of the most dishonest campaigns in modern history and the internet allowed Democrats and liberals to make information widely available to the public. Obama won the Facebook wars because Romney (and Stevens himself) ignored the impact that social media has on keeping politicians honest. Again, to be fair, many politicians have not adjusted to this new reality but the GOP has suffered the worst of it. Probably due to the fact they tend to boldly lie a whole lot more.
But the reason that Stevens is leading the GOP off a cliff is that he’s trying to feed them the false hope that a few cosmetic changes can resurrect the party brand:
In the Democratic dark days after the 2004 election, few realized that the Democratic Party was only one candidate and one presidential election away from a revival that now is touted as dominance. So it can be with Republicans.
It wasn’t that the Democrats suddenly found a magic bullet to win elections, they started to win, and kept winning for two simple reasons: 1. The Bush administration proved to the majority of the American people that conservative economics are disastrous on every level and 2. With the rise of the Tea Party, the GOP stopped hiding their true agenda of bigotry, misogyny and class warfare. Neither of these applies to the Democratic Party and as hard as the GOP is trying to sabotage the economy, they’ve only succeeded in slowing down the recovery. Worse still, the public is increasingly recognizing that this is intentional and have started to turn on the GOP in record numbers.
Repacking the same old politics of hate and greed in a slick, younger package with darker skin won’t win elections. But feel free to try!