|When Democrats can wow crowds by espousing traditionally Republican ideals while we're ranting about the outrage du jour, it's proof positive that the message matters more than the crusade.|
This speaker went on the attack against the local government’s recent attempt to rein in Uber to protect entrenched taxi interests and railed against progressive government interests and their constant strangling of business opportunities. As members of the local chamber of commerce stood behind him applauding vigorously, this politician gave a pro-business speech that would do the Club for Growth proud and would not be out of place coming from a Republican mayor in Ohio, or Idaho.
But I wasn’t in Ohio, I was in Brooklyn. And it was Borough President Eric Adams speaking.
It’s infuriating and, at the same time, unsurprising. A Republican can’t get elected dogcatcher in most of Brooklyn, and has similar electoral chances in most other major urban areas not in Utah. The party’s inability to win elections in cities is one of the long term problems Republicans face if we want to maintain our electoral majorities.
And yet, here’s a Democrat elected official from the most liberal city this side of San Francisco, giving a speech that would make the Koch brothers proud, and getting cheers.
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As I’ve increased my involvement in both Republican politics and media, my biggest criticism of the party is its constant and predictable ability to get distracted by sideshows and fringe issues at the expense of issues with true practical political appeal. We obsess on scare tactics such as the “looming threat” of Sharia Law, when Muslims make up less than one percent of the population. We invent conspiracy theories that President Obama is using military exercises as an excuse to take over Texas. And don’t get me started on the birthers and their insane racist legacy.
And yet, here is evidence that a pro-business, jobs oriented political platform can win EVERYWHERE, even here, "Behind Enemy Lines" in liberal Brooklyn. And so while we’re off chasing wild political geese and obsessing over ideological purity - creating the national image of party that’s more interested in cultural isolation than economic development - the Democrats can co-opt the business message that we should be using to make inroads in jurisdictions where we traditionally lose.
Its time for the party to cast aside its reliance on scare tactics aimed at riling up the old, white voters that have traditionally made up our base (Let’s all be honest, it’s not like they’re going to vote for Hillary anyway.) It’s time for us make the focus of our party streamlining government, promoting business and creating good jobs for every American, red state or blue. Maybe, if we do, it will be a Republican getting the cheers Eric Adams did, in places we have long written off.