Republican Insiders Deliver the Dumbest Advice Imaginable on How to Win in 2024

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Leave it to Republican insiders to find a way to lose the 2024 election. 

Axios is reporting that the Republican State Leadership Committee, one top state-level GOP fundraising apparatus, is encouraging candidates to not spend too much time hitting Joe Biden. 

This is not the way, and I’ll explain why momentarily.

A Republican Party committee is privately warning its candidates that just hitting President Biden will be “insufficient” to win in November, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The GOP’s top fundraising committee for state-level leaders argued that Biden doesn’t hurt candidates down ballot in the way some presidents have in the past.

How do we know that is the dumbest advice imaginable? Because the Democratic Party has scored big in three straight cycles by doing the exact opposite of what is being suggested here. From the federal to the local level, Democrats have continually made nearly every race a referendum on Donald Trump. Their strategy has been simple: Connect every Republican to the former president and assert they are all “threats to democracy.” 

And you know what? As much as I hate it and think it’s ridiculous fear-mongering, it’s a smart strategy. Modern political history shows us that whoever an election becomes a referendum on, that person loses (if they are even on the ballot) and serious down-ballot consequences follow.

Joe Biden’s tenure has been a disaster, not just on one front, but every front. On foreign policy, the world has become far more volatile, with numerous wars and crises emerging. On the domestic front, price increases and escalating interest rates have crushed middle-class buying power. On the security front, illegal immigration has reached levels never seen before in history. There isn’t one area of American life that Biden can point to and legitimately claim victory. 

In short, things are so bad that if the election becomes a referendum on Biden, he will lose and many Democrat candidates running behind him will lose as well. If the election instead becomes a referendum on Donald Trump and “threats to democracy” again, he and many other Republicans will lose.

Here’s the problem for the RSLC and anyone who listens to them. Their suggestion to focus more on policy sounds well-intentioned. In a sane political environment, it might even be good advice. The GOP is not operating in a sane political environment, though. In fact, in the very same article quoted above, the RSLC’s Democrat counterpart made clear what their strategy will be. 

Abhi Rahman, the communications director for the RSLC’s Democratic Party counterpart, told Axios: “Nearly every Republican down ballot running for office is a MAGA Trump Republican.”

Do you see any mention of policy there? No, you see Democrat operatives doubling down on making Donald Trump the issue for voters going into 2024. There is no option there for Republicans to focus on a positive message in place of relentlessly hitting the current president. Like it or not, this election will be a referendum on Donald Trump or Joe Biden. The only question is which side succeeds in pushing the pendulum enough in the other direction. 

That’s not to say candidates shouldn’t have policy platforms they cite. It is to say that you can’t Mitt Romney your way to victory in November, trying to take the high road with a focus on a “positive vision.” Biden has to be front and center. His name has to become ubiquitous with failure, to the point where voters can’t stomach voting for anyone who will empower him. That’s what Democrats will be attempting to do again on the other side with Trump. Republicans can get in the game or go home

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