How do Republicans and conservatives in general get their message across? I think this is a conversation we must have. We are a nation that is split ideologically right about down the middle, with half supporting Democrats and half supporting Republicans. In Washington State, it’s more like 60/40. How do we persuade to our side those who normally vote Democrat but are fearful of the extreme left policies that are being enacted? We must convince a portion of those people to vote with us if we are going to succeed. Here are some facts we need to face before we even start the discussion.
- Most people are not very politically involved. They don’t understand the process, so they turn it off or just get fed the basics from the mainstream media or Facebook.
- The political atmosphere in Congress and in the WA State Legislature is completely controlled by Democrats who are determined to enact policies that are really quite radical. Policies that would never have been even considered a decade ago.
- The media and Big Tech are suppressing any opposing view and additionally are promoting the idea that every Republican and/or conservative is bad – racist, sexist, homophobic – you name it. I’ve personally challenged people who have made those claims, and they are always quick to say, “I wasn’t talking about you – I know you aren’t those things!” But they have fallen for a false premise and have just “graciously” decided I’m an exception.
So how do we fight this? I know it’s hard to be the underdog. Heaven knows I live it, being on the Republican side in the Legislature every single day. But when I talk to people, I want them to know we have better ideas, our policies help everyone succeed, and we are the ones trying to get government out of your way. Our motto is to reduce the size and scope of government.
Currently, those of us on the right are angry and feel pretty helpless because we are not only fighting the Democrats, but we also have to fight off their willing accomplices, the MSM and Big Tech – the very places where most of the world gets their information. As a result, we have to fight smarter and harder than the other side. All the time. We cannot afford to let our anger rule our tongues, as tempting as that is. When you are in a small group of like-minded people, say a closed group on Facebook or in a gathering of conservatives, you are preaching the choir, so it’s safe to express your frustration. But if you want to post publicly, you really need to post with the idea that you are going to persuade people to your side. And lashing out in anger will never win your opponent over to your side. And we must win them over.
1. Be civil and give reasoned arguments. Even if they are short statements. Over the past 10 years, I’ve met with thousands of people in the legislature. I agree with about half, but don’t agree with the other half. When the ones I don’t agree with come talk to me about a bill, I listen with respect and have a discussion. Every once in a great while they bring up an issue with a bill that I agree with. It’s rare, but there are times when I didn’t understand the whole picture. I also remember a time when 40 people were in my office, crowded around my desk, yelling at me. That’s pretty intimidating, and I can guarantee that at that moment, there was nothing they could say that would change my mind from my position as opposed to theirs. I’m pretty stubborn, and when you get in my face, I’ll pretty much dig in and turn you off. The reverse is true, as well. If it doesn’t work to yell at you, don’t do it to others – it’s not likely to convince them either.
2. Calling people names, especially if they are in a group, is not going to sway them to your side. If there is someone you know who consistently calls you a white supremacist because you are a 2A supporter or because you voted for Trump, what is the likelihood of you listening to a word they say? For me, that’s pretty much a zero chance. They’ve lost all my respect at that moment, because they are basically lying about me. Don’t do it to them. I see people call Democrats morons. I see terms like DemocRats (I think that’s what I’ve seen – I’ve never used those terms, so I don’t remember all the names). I have to tell you, one of the most consistent conservative voters in the Washington State Legislature is Senator Tim Sheldon – a Democrat. He talked me into learning to skeet shoot at an event years ago. And he was right – I did enjoy it! He’s conservative and the nicest person you will ever meet. When you call all Democrats names, you are painting one of your allies with the same brush. Senator Mullet is a Democrat and is more liberal, to be sure. But he’s one of the safeguards we have against all sorts of horrible legislation coming our way. Agree with him all the time? No. But I would never want to make him hate our side enough to stop helping us stop bad bills.
3.Do not use your rights to intimidate. My favorite days during session are the days they are hearing firearms bills, because all the gun people come to Olympia. They are my peeps. I feel safe and have a lot of great conversations with them. Those on the Democrat side are full of fear. They want to be escorted by security. They stay in their offices and refuse to see anyone. Seeing a person in camo with a gun slung across their shoulder is scary to them. They don’t understand the statement. In the past couple years, there have been one or two people who have aggressively lashed out while armed at the Capitol. It only takes one or two out of the hundreds there that day, but the reaction is swift, and it does not benefit our side at all. But you need to understand – if you act like that, you are not persuading them to your side. On the other hand, I can wear a suit, develop a relationship with someone who is liberal and anti-2A. Then after that relationship is formed, I can let them know I carry. What can they say? They recognize that they can’t tell me from the most liberal gun-hater in the universe just by looking at me. I’m not intimidating or scary. And who knows, I might be able to persuade them to my side.
The media will always find the worst example of any conservative and paint the rest of us with that brush. The crazy guy with the horns in the Capitol – I’ve seen him all over. There is nobody I know in the thousands of Republicans and conservatives I know who would act like that. Zero. Nada. But what picture does the media paint? We have to work smarter and harder than the other side to combat the picture that is painted of us. We need to show that we are like everyone else – we are hard-working regular people who have families and jobs that we care about. We need to sway some in the middle to our side.
One last note: I had a discussion with someone recently who mentioned that the Democrats have been able to win by demonizing us and revising history. That is very true. It frustrating and angering. But you have to remember. They have the media and Big Tech on their side. We have to figure out how to combat them all – and we have to be smart about it. Donald Trump was popular because he came in and exposed the media for what it is. He punched back. But he was an elected official who was able to overcome the media through other means. You and I do not have that same ability. Let the big guys do the punching on their podcasts and from their podiums. Let us do what we can to persuade. I’ve talked to numerous life-long Democrats over the past two years who switched to Republican because the nastiness of many in the Democrat Party has been revealed. That should tell us something. If we get in people’s faces, we end up only preaching to the choir, and that doesn’t do us a lick of good. In politics, the ones with the most votes win – we have to work harder and smarter to get those votes.