“If the enemy leaves a door open, you must rush in.” — Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Republicans all across New York have been downright depressed since this past Election Day when they faced historic losses at the state level that relegated them to minor party status in Albany. Republican George Marlin even wrote at NewsMax that “The Republican Party in New York is dead.”
Is this true? Are things really that bad and is it all over for New York Republicans? Maybe. Maybe not. The numerous commentators writing obituaries for the New York Republican Party are correct on one point; Republicans running as the typical “conservative” candidate of yesterday will only find success in the rural upstate region of New York but are certain to face electoral defeat almost everywhere else. This is because of something that Andrew Breitbart used to say; “politics is downstream from culture” which means that politics lag what is happening in greater society. For instance, when homosexuality was mainstreamed and normalized by TV shows like Will & Grace and movies like As Good As It Gets or Brokeback Mountain, the seeds were sown for the eventual political defeat of conservatives years later on LGBT issues.
As a rock-ribbed Republican myself, I hate to admit it but it’s undeniable that we lost the culture war and aspiring Republican politicians are not going to gain any votes trying to reanimate the dead corpse of cultural conservatism. This is not to say that Republicans should start flying the rainbow flag and embrace the cultural Left but we need to just go radio silent on these controversial issues since any involvement with them can only hurt a Republican in a general election and they’re literally irreversible in New York due to our political dynamics. The best move is to completely avoid discussing these topics and allow your Democratic opponent to seem obsessed with divisive cultural issues while you’re more concerned with the issues affecting your constituents. Allow the Democrats to detour into far left social justice causes like promoting transgenderism or whatever recent fad they’re into which most voters simply don’t care about. I need to stress that I’m advising “radio silence” and not embracing far left social justice causes because to do so (1) will alienate reliable Republican voters; and (2) a Republican can never virtue signal enough to satisfy social justice activists who will just attack even more. Simply act disinterested in the subject when it’s brought up.
But what is popular? Let’s check out some recent polls from the nonpartisan Rasmussen Reports.
Voters Question U.S. Birthright Citizenship Policy
Voters Show More Support for Troops On the Border
Voters Say Government Should Stop Hondurans At the Border
Voters Opposed to Illegal Immigrants Voting in Local Elections
Most Don’t Want to Get Rid of ICE
Voters See Illegal Immigrants as a Strain on U.S. Budget
Wow. Those are some pretty stunning results, right? And guess what’s on the 2019 agenda for the Democrats? Democrats want to give driver licenses, free healthcare and college tuition to illegal aliens as well as expand sanctuary city policies which make it impossible for Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities to do their job in New York. It appears that the Democrats are committed to some deeply unpopular policy proposals. This is exactly what Sun Tzu meant in the quote about rushing in when the “enemy leaves a door open.” The Democrats are practically showing us a path to victory if we just start paying attention. We need stop talking about the concerns of yesterday’s Republicans and let’s start addressing the needs of tomorrow’s Republicans. And on that point, I advise Republicans to embrace immigration populism by taking stances on issues which are shared by the majority of voters where the Democrats’ stated position is extremely unpopular.
The Democrats’ plan to give free healthcare, college tuition and driver licenses to illegals will make New York a primary destination for illegal immigrants so expect the type of chaos that follows their migration to spread throughout the state. We’ve already seen how MS-13 has plagued Long Island due to the influx of illegals so expect similar crime and violence to be rampant elsewhere. This will lead to a backlash by the public and create an opening for candidates that support, in the words of President Trump, “law and order.”
This means supporting police in their fight against criminal illegal aliens. This means opposing sanctuary city policies which protect illegal immigrants. This means supporting ICE and deportations of violent criminal aliens against the howls of the radical Democrat mobs who want to “abolish ICE.” And this means vigorously opposing measures which entice more illegal immigration to the state such as driver licenses or free tuition and healthcare for illegals. This also means pushing for regulatory reforms like e-verify which make it harder for New York businesses to employ illegal aliens. And this definitely means fighting voter fraud and preventing illegals from voting, actions which the Democrats adamantly oppose.
This approach will crystalize the differences between a Republican and his Democratic opponent. If a Republican instead tries to be a bland imitation of a Democrat and just argue they’re more “pro-business” and “anti-corruption,” they’ll fail to energize any voters to support their candidacy since the Democrats will likewise claim to be “pro-business” and “anti-corruption.” These issues will be a wash and the election will just be a headcount of which voters show up to the polls and since Democrats outnumber Republicans in New York, that will be bad for Republicans.
This doesn’t mean dropping all positions based on fiscal responsibility or ignoring local issues that voters care about but, in addition to those previously held positions, Republicans need to also distinguish themselves from their Democratic opponents and show exactly what it is they offer that is different from a Democratic Party that now controls the entire state government. The Democrats’ policies will obviously increase crime and chaos just as they have in Long Island and voters who notice this will be desperate for politicians to step up and restore order.
A candidate who is devoted to immigration populism will highlight the sharp contrast with his Democratic opponent who seems more interested in gaining future voters than in protecting the wellbeing of New York residents. New York Republicans who continue to be boring “pro-business” candidates who only talk about “low taxes” do so at their own peril. Status-quo Republicans will need to adopt a much more populist stance on immigration to stay competitive especially since Democrats are already planning on redistricting the state to solidify their political control.
The final chapter has not yet been written for the Republican Party in New York but there is not much time left and the Republicans must embrace the popular side of political issues which aligns them with the sentiments of the majority of the voters against the Democrats. Time is running out and the Republicans need to start viewing this as a battle for survival because that’s exactly what it is.