Editor's note: This post first appeared in a slightly different form on Watchdog.org.
Republicans are still gleeful after their 2014 victories in the U.S. Senate and statehouses across the nation. They should be, but they should also take heed.
A CNN exit poll shows that, despite historic wins, Republicans still lost with women voters, voters under forty, non-white voters, low-income voters, and more.
On top of it, as many commentators have noted, the U.S. Senate map is much tougher for Republicans in 2016 than it was in 2014, and Democratic enthusiasm and turnout are sure to be substantially higher in a presidential election year than they were on Nov. 4.
To win in two years, Republicans simply must develop new coalitions of voters. As Woody Allen said, “Showing up is 80 percent of life,” and the Republican Party is beginning to do just that by starting conversations with traditionally Democratic voters. The efforts have yielded some results, too, with positive signs in Florida, Texas, Colorado, and elsewhere.
Conservatives surely need to continue the getting-to-know-you phase, but they must then move the conversation with persuadable voters to concrete policy proposals that can help reduce poverty and open paths to the American Dream.
As I’ve argued before, one obvious policy on which conservatives already have a degree of credibility is school choice. While conservatives are generally very supportive of these policies (rural Republican state legislators are sometimes an exception), they have not seemed to fully grasp their potential as a way to build new Republican...