Nearly everybody in the nation has weighed in on the Republican makeover; I think Heidi Klum featured it on "America's Top Model." To this point, I've been dissatisfied with the results. Most have either asked the Republicans to change too much or too little. Here's my two cents' worth. To be clear, this is a cynical, repugnant approach. That's why I think it will work for Republicans.
1) Cut deals on immigration and the deficit: These issues are losers for the Republican Party. They've been beaten time and again on them and, every time they come up, they remind everyone that the Republican establishment supports a government of rich white folks, by rich white folks, and for rich white folks. Obama is dying to make a deal and cement his legacy. Take the deals, declare victory ("With this agreement, we've finally forced the president to make the serious cuts, yada, yada") and get these issues off the table. You can always come back to them and give rich people more tax cuts and pillage programs for the poor when you control the government.
2) Let Obamacare go: Rs risk looking like the insane FB stalker who follows someone years after the breakup. Stop it. Let it go. Beyond that, Governor Rick Scott (Felon, Florida) is starting to figure out ways to take the money, "incentivize private providers," and shower already rich health care execs with said money. Copy him. Twist the implementation rules of Obamacare to exclude the poor and favor the people you love. Turn it to your advantage quietly, behind the scenes.
3) Purge the party of the old folks: Any Bush, Cheney, Boehner, McConnell, McCain, Graham, Hatch and the rest need to go. Perhaps some of them would be nice enough to fall on their swords and accomplish 1 and 2 on their way out the door. Put the new generation in charge and in front of the cameras, a group that doesn't stink of bigotry and losing--Rubio, Ryan, Kasich, Jindahl, McDonnell, Cantor, Martinez, etc. Some will flame out; others will go forth. But every time McCain appears on a Sunday show, a Republican loses another vote.
4) Turn to the governors: A series of controversial R governors have won in the past couple of election cycles. A couple (Maine, SC, Florida) appear to have serious problems or limited national potential. The rest have won with a surprisingly coherent agenda that's barely touched the congressional party. What is it?
a) Public employee unions are the devil. Break them. "We" work hard and earn little; "they" are lazy and earn too much. They've ruined the education system, the postal system, and the federal government. All of the racial coding that Republicans know and love can be used--has been used--against public employee unions who, happily for such Rs, have a large % of minority employees. Scapegoat them for all of the nation's ills, but in particular for:
b) Education. Blow it up. For decades, the mainstream media has run down American education and people are primed to hate K-12. So, offer vouchers, destroy the unions, promise to blow up the system and start over.
c) Drill, baby, drill. Fracking, fracking, fracking. Pipelines. Shale Oil. Texas T. Black gold.
d) Tax reform: The old arguments for protecting the rich have failed. You need new ones. On the state level, Rs have discovered the joys of investment vs. consumption. Income taxes attack savings and investment. America will be much better off with consumption taxes, that virtuously restrain the poor from buying what they want and reserve funds for the wealthy. It's the same policy result--soak the poor and help the rich--but it's a new language. Consumption=BAD. Investment=GOOD. It would be a brave canddiate who goes all the way and proposes a national consumption (sales) tax and lowers income tax rates to nearly nothing. But it might work.
e) Embrace pro-life. Run screaming from the guns and the gays: You need to fire up the base and nothing is better than abortion AS LONG AS THERE IS THE EXCEPTION FOR RAPE, INCEST, AND LIFE OF THE MOTHER. Don't be idiots. Americans will tolerate, if not endorse, virtually any restriction short of that, so don't be stupid. Meanwhile, gays and guns are bad, bad, bad. On both issues, the R base vociferously supports one position, and the majority (vast majority in some cases) supports another. That's simply awful for you. Practice glittering generalities. Lots of nouns, adjectives, and adverbs. NO VERBS. Twenty years from now, I expect traditional conservatives will find a lovely issue in the high gay divorce rate ("Don't gays and lesbians understand family values?"). Until then, lay low.
5) Understand swing states: Rs have a narrow electoral window now. One or both 2016 nominees should be from Ohio and Florida. That's the route to victory. No more Utah, or Massachusetts or Arizona or even other southern states that are gimmes. Kasich-Rubio 2016 probably wins you the White House. If Kasich wins reelection. Which is looking better and better.
6) Kick out the neocons and bring America home: None of the Republican leaders have any understanding of foreign policy anyway. So, go simple. No more war. Strong defense, but no use of force. Let those "other" nations do their job for a change. We've got work to do here at home. The mainstream media will wring their hands and whine about isolationism. The rest of the coutnry will love you for it.
That's it. Evil, nasty and likely to be successful. Horrible for the country. A perfect path to second class status in the world. But, hey, Rs don't have a problem with that as long as they win.