One of the basics of economics is the idea of opportunity cost. Opportunity cost is the idea that you have 5 dollars and you can buy a latte at Starbuck or you can buy 5 widgets (because as an economics example there is an unspoken rule that I must include the selling of widgets). But you can’t have both. Now for most of us the latte will be a better investment because no one has ever figured out what you can do with a widget. But you have to lose the opportunity to buy one when you but the other.
You can save money or you can spend money but you can’t do both with the same dollar.
You can invest in all your money in Company A or you can invest all you money in Company B, or you can split your money between the two, but you can’t give all your money to both companies.
The idea in economics is that whenever you move resources to one thing (be it time, money, capital or people) that same resource can’t be used somewhere else. So you have lost the opportunity to spend that resource on the other thing…preferably because where you did spend money was a better choice.
Why do I bring this up?
Because we have a limited amount of time to talk to voters. People tune you out after a while. So in that limited amount of time you can only discuss a certain number of things.
Logically we would want to discuss the issues that will most likely convince voters to vote for us, that will most change the nation for the better, and have will affect the most number of people.
But regrettably many Republicans are anything but logical.
Think about it. Of these options which one does your average Republican choose to argue?
You can bitch about Common Core or you could actually push for the elimination of the federal Department of Education. The latter might actually improve education.
You talk about gay marriage or you can could actually push to end the incentives against marriage in entitlement programs. The latter might actually increase marriage rates, reduce poverty and increase social stability. The former will just allow liberals to make you look like an ass to moderates.
You could talk about abortion or you could talk about the economy and actually win an election.
You can whine about RINOs or you can attack Democrats. A RINO from a purple district/state still gets us control of the House and/or Senate. A RINO will vote with us some of the time, a Democrat will not.
You call things that aren’t amnesty, amnesty and hurt your own party or you can push for any effort to secure the border.
You can whine about “Oh but we always give, and we need to take a stand now even if that stand will mean shooting ourselves in the foot” or you could be a sane person and learn from the past (as opposed to living in it)…and the past teaches me to pick and fight my battle, not run away from every battle or fight every battle (both extremes are dumb)
Oh, for libertarians:
You can whine about the drug war’s ineffectiveness or you could secure the border. Hmmm which one will benefit country more? Let me think.
The fact is that this is a party that time and time and time again want to “take a stand on principle” even where there are other issues that defend the very principle they care about and when they have a choice they will either divide their time between the unimportant stuff and the relevant stuff or they will focus almost entirely on the issues that won’t win, won’t work, and won’t help anyone.
Please Republicans, get your act together. And I’m not talking just about the politicians and the pundits, I’m talking about the rank and file reading this. How often do you waste a chance to win someone with an argument that might work and doesn’t violate a single one of your principles because you have some pet issue. I hate to tell you winning votes isn’t about your pet issue, it’s about the pet issues of the person you’re trying to convince…unless you can adapt to that reality don’t get into politics.