Kudos to John Hawkins.
I’ve spent some time the last few days tossing notes together for this sort of post, but Hawkins beat me to it:

…the GOP absolutely cannot build a successful political party around “moderates.”

Why is that the case?

1) What constitutes a “moderate” changes from person to person. That’s how people like Joe Lieberman and Chuck Hagel, neither of whom would agree on just about anything, can both be considered “moderates” in their parties.

Put another way: a socially conservative, anti-abortion voter who believes in big government policies could be fairly called a moderate. On the other hand, a socially liberal, pro-abortion voter who doesn’t want any new government programs could also be fairly called a moderate.

So, since what constitutes being a “moderate” changes from person to person, it’s not possible to build a party around appealing to “moderates.”

Pay particular attention to this:

…if conservatives aren’t enthusiastic about their nominee, moderates are going to take cues from that and cast their votes accordingly. That’s one of the reasons why it’s so counter-productive to antagonize conservatives in an effort to draw in moderates.

5) It’s conservatives, not moderates, who contribute the money, work on GOP campaigns, and are generally going to vote Republican, if they vote at all.

Although it’s fine to reach out to moderates, if you go too far and alienate the conservative base, it will hurt your fundraising, leave you without enough campaign volunteers, and may depress turnout amongst your most loyal supporters.

Amen and amen.

Go and read.

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