Now that Republicans have celebrated a strong midterm election victory, many are asking, “What’s next?” What should they be doing? Where should the focus be? How do they turn a 2014 midterm victory into a 2016 presidential victory? I have some suggestions.
1) Be the party of solutions. Many are disheartened with Democrats, but they’re also not confident that the GOP will do much better. The first step should include crafting clean legislation that the public will support and the President will have a hard time rejecting. A clean border security bill, a clean Keystone pipeline bill, and a clean repeal of Obamacare’s medical device tax would be very hard for the President to reject. That’s not to say he wouldn’t, but moving such bills forward would give the public an immediate sense that you are ready to get practical things done. Remember that according to many exit polls, the economy and health care are top priorities for many Americans.
2) Unite. Party unity will be essential, particularly when it comes to a budget and immigration. You must find a way to come together on these issues. Easier said than done, but a necessity.
3) Everything you do needs to be articulated well to the public. People won’t know what you’re busy working on unless you tell them. And sticking the information on a website that’s poorly-marketed won’t cut it. Get out there–on television, in particular–informing the public of your pro-growth efforts every step of the way. If President Obama rejects them, explain that too.
4) If the President goes the executive order route, be prepared to counter his justification for that. Do it quickly and efficiently in all mediums.
5) You should have already hired a messaging team for 2016—charismatic, passionate, articulate people who can hop on TV to defend or refute claims with respect to the GOP agenda and future candidate. If you haven’t done so already, do it now. And how about that outreach to liberal-leaning college campus groups? Either you want to change hearts and minds or you don’t. Up to you.
6) When it comes to the tone and delivery of your policy and message, the public craves two things: leadership and efficiency. If you oppose an Obama-proposed solution, be prepared with a well-formulated alternative. Fighting Obamacare is a waste of time unless you are prepared to say, “And here’s what we have come up with that will work much better.”
7) Stop repeating past mistakes. When it comes to a 2016 candidate, don’t ignore the lessons of 2008 and 2012. Charisma matters. Speaking conservatism like it’s a second language is a problem. Being able to connect with an audience and strike the right tone in a debate is crucial. If you can’t get your own base excited to vote for you, you’re not winning over anyone new. A bold and engaging defense of principles is a necessity.
There’s a start. If the GOP is on point, Hillary Clinton (assuming she runs) should not be hard to beat. She makes a lot of verbal blunders, has a hard time connecting with the left-wing base, is not a charismatic leader, and was part of an administration that made a lot of mistakes. The right GOP candidate, with a solid messaging team and surrounding infrastructure, should not have a hard time defeating her. Period.
We’ll be watching.
Jedediah Bila is co-host of “Outnumbered” on Fox News at 12pm ET. She is an author, columnist, and Fox News Contributor. Follow Jedediah on Twitter @JedediahBila.