Alex Massie

Limbaugh’s Recipe for a Democratic Majority

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This won't surprise everyone but it turns out that Rush Limbaugh is an idiot. To wit:

Going after moderates, independents, and all these yokels is not the blueprint.  The blueprint’s there, 1994, taking back the House, the blueprint’s there.  Why are these people ignoring it?

Of course, as Daniel Larison points out, the GOP won in 1994 in large part because it was able to appeal to many more independent voters than it had in 1992. (Clinton's less than stellar first two years in office obviously also helped). As I have suggested, once a party's brand has become contaminated - as was the case with the Tories in the mid-1990s and the GOP now - you cannot simply retreat to first principles and assume that the public will forgive and forget your sins. It doesn't work like that. And, again as the Tories discovered, once the brand has been contaminated the base is no longer enough to win. When the electorate moves, political parties that are truly interested in winning move too.

The concept is not, actually, all that difficult to grasp: to win elections you need to persuade people who did not support you last time out to switch their allegiance this time around. Simply presuming that the electorate has taken leave of its senses and will eventually return to the fold is a recipe for years in opposition. Mind you, talk radio thrives on anger and is, therefore, better suited to opposition than government. So perhaps Limbaugh is simply looking out for himself.

UPDATE: David Frum argues that Limbaugh (and his followers) are leading the GOP "to disaster - and beyond disaster, to irrelevance." 

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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