Narendra Modi won an overwhelming victory in the Indian election. He avoided or minimized contentious issues, like Hindu nationalism. The Republicans can learn a lot by following a similar strategy on religion. Modi’s campaign emphasized growth, a better future, and a program for achieving improved living standards for everyone. He charged the current government with “tax terrorism” because it repeatedly changed India’s tax rates and tax law. That created uncertainty, an enemy of business investment and economic growth.
The Indian election was a classic confrontation between the proponents of growth and the advocates of redistribution and the welfare state. Growth won across the board in all classes and regions. The young especially voted for growth. The same message brought Ronald Reagan to the presidency for two terms. Like Reagan, Modi urged voters to choose growth and opportunity instead of redistribution, higher tax rates, and envy.
This message worked for President Reagan. And it worked for Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. It offers opportunity to the many willing to work for a better life.