Opinion is divided over whether Ann Romney’s speech to the Republican National Convention succeeded in mollifying female voters. I say no; while I like her personally, “I love you women!” was just too much, and she did a better job convincing me that former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) was a good husband, father and friend, as opposed to a good policy-maker. So what can Republicans really do to get traditional Democratic strongholds on their side? The possibilities are actually numerous:
Labor unions: I emphasize the word “labor” because the public-sector unions are absolutely out of the question. These are the traditional unions that operate in the interests of manufacturers, who are, of course, more politically valuable to Republicans. Main issues: Job creation, trade, taxes. Message: “You will continue to have an influence in America because we will create a climate for manufacturing.”
New immigrant families: I’ll just let author Lawrence Martin explain how Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney figured this one out:
. . . the Liberal Party owned the vote of new Canadians, but Kenney reasoned that they were a more natural fit for the Conservatives. They were entrepreneurial, hard-working, wanted stability, were intolerant of crime and disorder, and had a proud devotion to family.
Message: “We will make the effort it took for you to come to America absolutely worth it.”
Youth: Cynical as this is, the trend of crushing student loan debt presents a valuable opportunity for Republicans. The campus activists will remain out of contention, but the apolitical ones are ripe for the picking. Main issues: Jobs, debt, housing. Message: “The Democrats stop caring about you when you graduate; we don’t.”
Hispanics: With their numbers growing in the South, Republicans will have to give up on the “send ‘em all back” mentality, drawing a line between illegal immigrants with poor records and the children of illegal immigrants with clean ones. This is a good start. Main issues: Jobs, religious freedom, public safety, education, alleviating racial conflict. Message: “We are proud of the contribution of Hispanics to American society, and we’ll honor them by enabling you to make good lives here.”
Seniors: This depends substantially on the party getting its Medicare numbers right. But there are some rhetorical inroads they can make in the meantime. Main issues: Retirement, health care, everything parents and youth are concerned with. Message: “We are best equipped to enable you to be independent in your old age.”