2018 was an unmitigated disaster for the Hawaii Republican Party. I saw it coming. I see it coming again in 2020.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”
Whether or not these words originated from Albert Einstein, one doesn’t have to be a genius to realize that if the minority party keeps doing things just like they have for the last six decades, they will always be out of power. Unfortunately, the superficial and frivolous approaches taken by the party leaders accomplish about as much as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
As expected, in 2018 Hawaii GOP was on the losing end of every major political race, including Governor of Hawaii, U.S. Senate, and both Congressional Districts. They did pick up one Hawaii State Senate seat against a Democrat opponent involved in scandal during the campaign. But that ain’t really nothin’ to crow about.
Neither Democrat U.S. Senator is faced next year with the very routine nuisance of being perfunctorily re-elected. No serious challenger has popped up yet from the Republican side to challenge for either House seat.
There is a non-partisan election of Honolulu Mayor. It is not yet clear which previous candidates will be recycled for that one. New faces are few and far between. Even perennial candidates can benefit from new approaches.
Neither State GOP nor Oahu GOP welcome input. I don’t claim to be a political operative. I am most definitely not a politician. But if the same people keep doing what they’ve been doing, 2020 will be just as devoid of conservative election winners as in the past.
It doesn’t take an Einstein to figure that out!
The majority of Hawaii voters identify themselves as Democrats. For better or worse, they will stick with whomever their party puts up for any given office. It has nothing whatsoever to do with where the candidates stand on any issues. If they are the Democrat nominee, that’s all they need to win.
I’ve learned some things as a volunteer for several candidates since I retired four years ago. It’s very difficult to get the conservative message to the people. All major media outlets will protect Democrats and bury their opponents’ messages.
That’s why NOQ Report is a God-send.
I have no intention of naming here the various personages in the Hawaii Republican Party who are making the decisions. They know who they are. More importantly, everybody else who needs to know who they are does know who they are.
And it’s not my purpose to try to persuade them of anything. For, I am convinced that is a lost cause.
There is also another group that does name names and make specific allegations. Likewise, I will not specify who that is because they know. All that matters here is that their approach thus far has not achieved its objective.
So what are we going to do differently next year? Before we answer that question, it is necessary to define the antecedent of the pronoun “we”. It must consist of more than just “me and the mouse in my pocket”. I have talked to like-minded persons both here in Hawaii and beyond.
One thing very recently brought to my attention is the phenomenon here in Hawaii of groupthink. I personally always make my own decisions and do what I believe is right regardless of what anybody else thinks 100% of the time. But I have been made aware that this individual decision making is the exception rather than the rule among voters. Probably other places as well, but definitely here in Hawaii.
So, the next task is to determine what groups people depend upon to tell them whom to vote for. First and foremost, as previously stated, there is the Democrat Party Machine itself.
It’s not really just a function of demographics. The Democrat Party includes many people of Asian ancestry of various ethnicities and quite a number of Caucasians as well. Anybody who can accept and regurgitate Democrat talking points without a smirk qualifies as a potential candidate. Being a local helps, but many kamaaina also get elected regularly.
Political hopefuls here often use their community ties to a specific part of the island and particularly which high school they went to as a badge of honor. It helps to be a grad of Punahou, Iolani or Kamehameha.
There are social and religious groups that bear influence among their members. Certainly trade unions also play a role.
The point being, it takes more than just having the best plan to resolve problems and address issues. One also has to have a campaign strategy related to millennials, for instance. The world they grew up in and their consequent view of reality are far different from that of baby boomers.
There needs to be a short-range plan to rebrand the Hawaii Republican Party. I have previously written how the GOP in Hawaii is seen as an anachronism. But as long as candidates with an [R] after their name speak and act and do just like Democrats, there is no good reason for anybody to forsake their predictable Dem politicians who just play musical chairs going from one position to another.
So in 2020, we need to try something different. We have absolutely nothing to lose. Doing what we have always done will have the same results.
If a Republican is too timid to criticize his or her Democrat opponent because they don’t want to offend Democrats, they will have nothing to show that they provide a better alternative. It doesn’t have to be hateful, nasty or mean-spirited.
I am not a big fan of negative campaigning. But if you don’t show why and how your opponent, who is often an incumbent, has failed, or will fail, to do what they should, why do you expect anybody to consider you over them?
So, I am suggesting that every Republican candidate should clearly state in every campaign ad, piece of literature and speech that they intend to provide a Conservative Common Sense Alternative to failed liberal policies. Don’t be afraid to indicate on which issues you do agree with President Trump and on which ones you do not.
First and foremost, you must be a person of integrity and an independent thinker. Don’t let national policies you don’t walk in lockstep with bring you down. On the other hand, don’t hesitate to be totally honest and transparent about where you do stand.
There are many people in Hawaii who maintain traditional family values. Two decades ago, Hawaii was targeted to become the first U.S. state to legalize gay marriage. But, even many Democrats opposed it.
Times have changed. The Democrat Party has totally deserted the people who used to form the core of their base constituency. Many still vote Democrat simply because they are not confronted with this fact and offered a viable alternative.
In this sense, it needs to be driven home that we still have a secret ballot. Unless you tell them or post it on your Facebook page or Tweet about it, nobody has to know whom you voted for. The ones who don’t want to publicly oppose the groupthink can be reassured that their choice of a political candidate does not have to be shared with anyone unless they wish to do so.
We have to start somewhere. Let’s begin with our messaging. We have to demonstrate where current policies of government in Hawaii at all levels have been detrimental to the economy and to the social milieu.
The fabric of society has been stained by corruption and incompetence. Nobody has anything to lose but everything to gain by doing things differently to attain different and better results.
Don’t be bogged down by a detailed, comprehensive platform that few will read and even fewer will heed. People in Hawaii vote for the person they can identify with and feel most comfortable with.
That’s why they use the Democrat Party as their security blanket. If you’re going to run for office from Hawaii next year as a Republican, you need to get and hold the public’s attention and respect.
It takes big bucks for television and radio commercials and newspaper ads. The Hawaii phenomenon of sign-waving is of limited effectiveness. For everyone who appreciates your standing out in the hot sun or rain, somebody else will blame you for snarling traffic.
That’s why social media is a good investment of your time and energy. Many politicians of both major parties are finding Twitter reaches a large audience. It also doesn’t take the reservoir of fundraising proceeds to establish and maintain a daily presence where people know they can communicate with you. If you actually respond candidly in a timely manner, many will be impressed.
The most frustrating thing about most people in elected office is that they are inaccessible. If you contact their office by phone or fax or mail, you’ll be lucky to even get a canned form letter in response.
A viable candidate who personally uses social media consistently and adeptly will have a foundation upon which to build as his or her campaign grows. If the constituency becomes too large to respond to every inquiry individually and separately, the concerns can be consolidated and addressed collectively.
Hawaii Republican Party has not been responsive to the public. Individual candidates have interacted with their supporters with varying degrees of effectiveness.
I’m thankful that thoughts such as these can now be articulated and made available under the auspices of NOQ Report. None of the Hawaii-based media provided such access to conservatives during the 2018 campaign.
Now we need conservatives to step out of the shadows and come forth. Even those of us with no political ambitions of our own can contribute in support roles.
We need those who can write well. We need those with expertise as policy advisors. Yes, we need those who understand campaign finance laws, filing deadlines and other essential elements of any successful run for office.
I’m not going to ask you to contact the Hawaii Republican Party directly. If you feel so inclined, be my guest. Better, if you want to help elect conservatives, either step forward yourself or encourage others to do so.
We need a grassroots effort to reinvigorate the Republican Party. Instead of being blind lemmings following our current leaders over another political cliff, let’s come up with people who can do the job and who consider public service as a sacrifice they’re willing to make, not as a self-serving quest for power.
I recommend following NOQ Report for both national and Hawaii perspectives that you won’t find anywhere else. Don’t rely on Hawaii GOP to keep you informed. Remember that they work for you and not vice versa. They won’t turn things around and elect conservatives next year, but together we can.
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