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Thursday, February 11, 2016


How to Win the White House and Save the World: Don't Talk of Reagan. Talk Like Reagan.

I've been reading some of Reagan's old speeches to confirm something to myself. At the Trump-less debate, Rand Paul finished his closing statement by saying something like, "And I'm the only Republican who'll balance the budget."

This provoked a reaction from me, because I thought -- would Reagan have just made the promise that he would balance the budget? In a closing statement, in which he could chose his own words as he liked?

Looking back at Reagan's speeches, I don't see him just promising some government action. I see him promising a government action and then immediately telling you how this will directly and tangibly benefit you.

He didn't leave you to wonder how cutting taxes might help you. He would say something elegant and magical like, "Just as free speech encourages good journalism, so do low tax rates and low regularity burdens on the farmer or businessman produce prosperity."

By the way, that's another thing Trump gets right, though he says it crudely. When did Republicans stop talking about prosperity, like it's the dirty thing the Democrats say it is? Trump gets a lot wrong -- a lot -- but he does keep telling people, "We're gonna get rich."

I hear a lot of people talking about "getting the economy back on track." What the hell does that mean? The economy is an abstraction. Money in your pocket, that's tangible. That's real. And "prosperity" is an elegant, wonderful word to describe having money and getting rich.

So I have to say, for those not understanding what other people hear in Trump's (admittedly) poorly thought out and boastful words, those are two key things people are hearing: I'm on your side, I understand your pain.

And: I'll make you rich.

Why aren't other people talking about this more?

No one should talk about reducing regulatory burdens ever again without then completing the thought and saying, "Allowing our businessmen to make things, and our farmer to grow things, without spending so much time keeping the federal government fat and happy with make-work, makes them richer, makes more products on the shelves at lower prices, and makes you richer, too."

Reagan was a teacher. He didn't just talk about policy preferences or ideology. In simple (and yet gorgeously elegant) language, he explained how each of his policies would do one of the following:

* This will make you freer.

* This will make you safer.

* This will make you richer.

* This will make you happier.

* This will make a better world for your children.

This is critically important.  Don't tell people your policy proposal, tell them how your policy proposal will benefit them.

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