Sunday, February 24, 2008

Registration Rolls Point Out the Path for GOP

But they also slap us down for the last decades' worth of mis-governing.

From the Saturday Rocky:

The latest voter registration figures from the Secretary of State show that Republicans outnumbered unaffiliated voters in January only by about 12,000 people, 34.8 percent compared to 34.4 percent. In January 2004, the spread was almost five percentage points, 37 percent to 32.2 percent. Since then, unaffiliated registration has steadily increased.

During the same time, the Democratic Party has remained at about 30 percent of the electorate even though the party captured the governor's mansion and the state legislature.

[notice the total for GOP/Unaffil has held steady at 69.2%]

I think the lessons here are fairly self-evident, but I'm going to point them out, anyway.
First of all, as I've written before, "We on theRight may not be able to get our act together to elect people; but the state of Colorado is still, on the issues, a center-right state. The more we do to delineate those issue differences for the voters, the better off we will be." When 69 percent of the electorate is Republican or Unaffiliated, I think that pretty much qualifies you as "center-right." Add to that the long list of referenda and initiatives that the Left has tried for and not succeeded with, and you get a picture of good center-right state.

Unfortunately, the party that should be enjoying the largesse of that profile has proven over the past many years to be either indifferent to everyday people or incompetent in power--I tend to think the latter. I believe that when people want to feel good, they elect Democrats to tell them how to assuage their guilt (whether they actually accomplish anything is a different story); I also believe that when people want to get things done and have competent governance, they tend to elect Republicans.

Those registration numbers don't mean the state is changing nearly as much as they mean the Republicans have blown opportunitites to capitalize on their plurality, and now there's a significant chunk of the electorate who are actively repudiating the Party.

But not the ideas.

And, while this is--or should be--a wake-up call for the GOP, it also points the way back to the promised land.

First: have ideas that mesh with the electorate

Second: be competent, be ethical, and be transparent.

You wouldn't think the first would be very difficult for the Party of Reagan and of Newt Gingrich; and the Colorado GOP is pursuing a very ambitious agenda in the legislature this session; but for a few years there, the GOP was in charge of a system (not of their making) that prevented increasing revenue while mandating increasing expenditures while . . . Sure, the GOP isn't completely responsible for TABOR and Amendment 23; but they happened on their watch, and they couldn't solve the problem. So they get the blame.

But that second one has proven to be a real problem for us. I think the Colorado GOP lost some good will when it tried to ram through redistricting in a stealthy way back in 2000, and that opened the door for the state party to be tarnished by Hurricane Katrina and Iraq and all the other problems of the national GOP.

So, . . .Note to Bob Schaffer's campaign: have ideas that are in sync with the state (not a problem) but ALSO make the case that your ethical standards are unimpeachable (you did keep your term-limits promise) in the face of Lefty smears and that you will get things done (unlike the Democrats who are flailing about haplessly in Congress right now). Don't think too much about the Udall campaign--you need to get this one message through to the electorate or it won't matter how goofy Mark Udall is.

And, preferably, you need to get that message through to the electorate soon, before the smear campaign starts in the Spring.

[cross-posted at BestDestiny]

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