Sunday, October 4, 2015

Politics Is a Numbers Game -- Which You Can Play

I have heard this truism many times, and indeed it bears repeating:

"Politics is a number's game."

Absolutely it is. No matter how strongly I may feel about any piece of legislation, if my political party and their ideology rests in the minority, I cannot plan on getting anything done on my own with my like-minded colleagues.

Now, that does not mean that the numbers will stay that way.

In fact, leading a fight, and even losing that fight, can broaden the pathway for long-term wins and finally victory in the war, whether ideological, moral, or political.

Republicans expanded their numbers in the House of Representatives. They took back the US Senate, and some all-star conservatives are demonstrating some real heft and might. Not just Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, but Tom Cotton of Arkansas and James Lankford of Oklahoma, along with elder statesmen like James Inhofe and Jeff Sessions, are pushing an assertive, conservative agenda, in spite of President Obama's officious, progressive politicking.

But where is the legislation to repeal Obamacare? Where is the legislation to stop President Obama's executive amnesty? How is it possible that the Republican US Senate would allow the more illiberal Loretta Lynch to succeed Attorney General Eric Holder?

Republican leaders in Washington are failing on two fronts, and they are in hiding behind the numbers to justify their lack of confrontation and leadership.

Politics is more than just a numbers game, a static set of statistics over which conservatives have little or no control. The numbers that matter are not just in the legislature, counting votes.

They are in the public, among the masses, counting votes, raising awareness, gathering petitions, making people aware and angry at their legislators. We the People connect and create the most important set of numbers.

Another number: the number of times that any group of people contest and fight, who refuse to allow an issue to die away.

At the outset of the American Revolution. aside from a small band of farmers in New England, most colonists were either too disconnected or uncommitted to thwart the British Empire. During low periods of the fight, General George Washington had to pick his fights, ensuring that he would win, or at least draw enough blood and rally support for the next fight should he lose.

Strategic losses lead to greater victories every time.

So, where is the legislation repealing Obamacare, Republicans? Why has leadership in the US Senate refused to take up any bill to cut down Obamacare? How about forcing every member of the federal government, including the staffers and the Supreme Court, to submit to Obamacare insurance?

Now, even if this legislation does not pass, if the Democrats in the US Senate insist on blocking legislation which is popular with the American people. the numbers which the Republicans needs in 2016 will start lining up behind them. Granted, the fifty-four member majority will have to defend twice as many seats as the Democrats. With more voters recognizing that the US Senate Republicans are passing pro-American legislation, and that the Democratic minority is styming these efforts, then they can turn their efforts toward firing up the base, and they will have more numbers on their side at election day, and better representation in the two chambers of Congress as well as the White House.

Yes, politics is very much a numbers game. But those numbers are more than just votes in a legislative body. They are the number of letters which a Congressman receives from angry constituents. Those numbers include the higher volume of calls hitting a US Senator's office. Other numbers worth calculating include the amount of money lost when key funding operations find that they cannot get anymore money.

Even though Congressman John Boehner was reelected in 2014, one conservative House Rep filed the discharge petition to have his chair vacated. That one move generated momentum from other members, which in turned demonstrated to the Speaker that the numbers were no longer on his side. He then stepped down. The same process could remove non-leading Majority Leader Mitch McConnell from the US Senate, too.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said it so well at the 2012 RNC Convention: "Real leaders change polls, not follow them". Once again, politics is a numbers game, but one in which the numbers can be played and changed to suit the needs of the conservative agenda.

Numbers also speak to the amount of time and energy that a diligent cohort never quits. Maine Governor Paul LePage refused to let up on welfare reform in the Pine Tree State. Whether he possessed a needed majority in either house of the Maine legislature, or faced off against Democratic majorities, LePage never stopped demanding welfare reform. Why? Because the Maine voters wanted it. He had the numbers which mattered: the consensus of the electorate.

With that, the Maine Democrats finally caved and signed off on welfare reform and expanded constitutional carry, fully respecting the Second Amendment.

How long have conservatives been fighting? How much time have they invested in the fight? Have they considered other venues for getting the numbers on their side? As Saul Alinksy instructed his left-wing acolytes in "Rules for Radicals", the fear of the threat is always greater than the threat itself."

Even if the physical numbers, in terms of votes or resources, are not readily available, such lack should not dissuade anyone from the fight for conservative causes and purposeful principles. Now more than ever, with growing majorities in Congress and throughout the country, Republican lawmakers and executives need to stand for what is right, and not give up the fight. The numbers may not look good right now, on paper, in the media, or within the legislative record. But with more views, and voters, supporting their values, they will get their numbers lined up their way, and win both the battles and the war to come.

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