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The Donkey, the Elephant, and the RINO

May 27, 2009

Tell me again why some self-proclaimed Republicans believe the GOP should ‘leave Reagan behind’?

[…] Gallup found, when Democrats control the Oval Office, loyalty to the Republican party increases and vice versa. Republicans gained one point during Harry Truman’s presidential years, 11 points during LBJ’s tenure, 3 points during the Carter administration, and 2 points under Clinton. Politically, Kennedy (who in many ways governed from the center-right) was a wash.

Likewise, when Republicans have been in power, Democrats have gained, as they did during the tenures of Eisenhower (+3), Nixon (+7), Ford (+2), and Bushes I (+3) and II (+6).

But, wait, what about the Gipper?

Alone among post-War presidents, Ronald Reagan’s Republican party actually gained ground during his two terms in office, gaining 9 full percentage points between 1981 and 1989.

But that’s not all. As the Pew study points out:

This [9-point Republican gain] probably understates Reagan’s overall legacy, as GOP identification had already spiked four points (and Democratic identification fallen four points) between 1980 and 1981.

The GOP behaves like a kid at school trying desperately to be friends with those who make fun of them. The more they want to be liked the more they make fools of themselves and as a consequence they are disliked and invite ridicule by their opponents. Voters look for people who confidently stand up for what they believe. So Republicans should stop trying to sound like ‘conservative’ versions of Democrats. Instead they should make a compelling case for their own policies because they truly see them as superior to the alternatives. This is how Reagan did it. Americans aren’t stupid. They won’t vote for a party that doesn’t even seem to believe in its own principles.

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