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The Pocketbook Party

by Dan McLaughlin

Republicans should focus on the cost of living

Economic concerns are the largest issue in virtually every American election. A political party’s economic message is therefore one of its most important components. A party needs a message that connects the needs, wants, hopes, and fears of its voters, activists, and donors with its ideology, its policy proposals, and the practical effects of those proposals. Whenever one or more of these moving pieces gets out of sync, the party risks a muddled message at best, voter rebellion at worst.

Republicans have struggled to present a coherent and compelling economic message in the years since the 2008 financial crisis. A message built around job creation via supply-side tax cuts has its virtues, but in the second decade of the 21st century, it strikes many voters as outdated and disconnected from their kitchen-table concerns. Republicans should not banish pro-growth, supply-side solutions from their tool kit, but it is past time for them to recognize that the best economic message in today’s climate is that the GOP will deliver a lower cost of living than the Democrats will.

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