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It's Getting Harder to Listen

One of the first modes of critical thinking is knowing what others think and say. If we’re to be conscientious citizens in a free republic, we must follow the other side’s arguments and evidence, admitting those points that identify weaknesses in our own position. Continue Reading »

Conservative Populism and the Cory Gardner Problem

A funny thing happened when Cory Gardner, the senator-elect from Colorado, went on Fox News Sunday: He reminded us of the extent to which he is an establishment Republican. He was hand-picked by establishment Washington Republicans, but that’s easy to forget because of the way that his campaign united Colorado’s right-of-center voters and won over much of the persuadable electorate. Gardner’s success, however, reveals problems in the establishment conservative platform and shows what it would take for a populist conservative with better policy ideas to get elected. Continue Reading »

How to Succeed In Politics As a Businessman By Really Trying

A certain Georgia Senate seat has a strange and revealing recent history. 2008 was the ultimate Democratic wave year, but the Georgia Senate seat remained in Republican control after a runoff election. 2014 is shaping up to be a Republican wave year, but Republicans are left hoping to retain that same Senate seat based on President Obama’s unpopularity. The Georgia Republicans have gone from being able to resist a Democratic wave to depending on a Republican wave. Much of this variance from national trends has to do with the particular weaknesses of Georgia’s businessman-turned-politician Republican candidate: David Perdue. Continue Reading »

A False Choice

The performance of populist parties in Europe should be a warning for American conservatives. Those European parties (while they often vary greatly from one country to another) are consistently winning the votes of working-class white voters who feel abandoned by the political class. Similar forces are at work in America. The right can’t win (or can only win the narrowest and most fragile of victories) without them, so it must speak to them. Continue Reading »

How to Survive Demonization

Whether the issue is abortion or spending, a fraction of African-American, Hispanic, and young voters are on the right when it comes to policy, but voted for President Obama. These voters are immersed in a milieu where they never hear the worst of the left, or the best of the right. But there’s hope. A lifetime of attitudes can change, but not all at once. Though no national candidate will be able to change such attitudes in the few months of a presidential campaign, such change has happened before on a more local level. Continue Reading »

Winning at the Supreme Court, Losing in the Court of Public Opinion

With all the furor and dishonesty over the Supreme Court’s decisions on contraception and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, it’s a good moment to think about what kinds of structural weaknesses the center-right has in public debate and what can be done to address some of those weaknesses. The truth is we don’t speak to nearly enough people often enough. Come election time, millions of Americans are not prepared to listen to conservatives—and the fault lies not with those Americans, but with the right. Continue Reading »

Ted Cruz and Good News

This evening I was at a local Republican Party Lincoln Day dinner. The keynote speaker was Ted Cruz. He was good. He was really good. The essence of his message was hope and good news. I’d say his message was about hope and change, but I think that phrase has been taken and tarnished. That . . . . Continue Reading »

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