What the GOP Can Learn from Car Culture: The Base Model Manifesto
By Kevin J. Ryan
As the UAW cries foul after losing its bid to ruin Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant, it comes to mind how many Americans join together in their love for the cars that roll off those assembly lines and what American car culture can teach Republicans about how to win outside of Chattanooga.
The Nation and the City of New York have taken a hard left turn that would make Dale Earnhardt Jr. dizzy. Governor Cuomo recently made some disturbing remarks about “extremists” who are Pro-Life or believe in the Second Amendment not having a place in New York. These troubling times make it more critical than ever for Republicans to unite behind our core values and support candidates with a solid chance of victory. Much has been made, both accurately and with some exaggeration, of Republicans’ inability to do so.
Why do the Democrats often seem better at this? When you’re on the subway and a bearded hipster with a Hillary 2016 messenger bag gets on and sits down across from a woman wearing a “meat is murder” tee shirt, they don’t exchange hostile glances. They probably nod, acknowledging each other’s enlightened minds as if to say, “We know that it’s all Bush’s fault and deodorant is a scam.”
Car enthusiasts often join clubs, gatherings or internet forums that focus on a particular type of automobile, whether it’s a make or model, an era or category of car. We have clubs devoted to everything from classic cars, sports cars, modified imports, muscle cars, rally cars, Corvettes, Volkswagens (some made in Chattanooga), Minis, Nissan Z’s, Porsches and every cross-category and price bracket you can imagine. In each group, the core value is the shared belief that a particular kind of car is the best means of conveyance. All kinds of Republicans must agree that our core values are the best means of governance.
If you join a VW club, you’ll find owners of old and new VW’s in all colors: Golfs, GTI’s, vans, Jettas, Beetles, Karmann Ghias, convertibles and hardtops, manual transmission and automatic, with and without stripes, spoilers, fog lamps and other features that each member wanted on their VW. But the core value is the same: our way of getting around is best. Republicans could learn something from car clubs, who have their opinions about the particular models and features they like best but agree to promote the base model.
Have you noticed that, generally, Leftists of various afflictions seem to get along when it counts? The Ecomentalists who want you to ride a bicycle to work seem to get on just fine with the gun grabbers who want to take away the 2nd Amendment. Taxpayer-Funded Birth Control Enthusiasts have nary a cross word with the Green People who want to force you to buy expensive light bulbs. The Animals Are Better than People crowd never seems to clash much with the Environmentalists for Stone Age Technology or the Marxists for the Metric System. No matter what their Big Cause might be, they know that they have more in common than in contrast. The Democratic Party has been largely able to convince Leftists of all stripes to cooperate, based on shared beliefs: gigantic, all-powerful government that tells people what to do, mercilessly high taxes to pay for it, weak national defense, disastrous foreign policy and a determination to punish hard work and success through divisive class warfare. They came out to vote for Obama, while large numbers of Republicans stayed home instead of voting for Romney.
Luckily, Republican core values are more broadly appealing. Do you want low taxes? Do you want handcuffs on crooks, not cops? Do you want your government to stay out of your private life? Do you want our military to be the strongest in the world? Do you think everyone should be welcome in this country, as long as they follow the rules? Do you believe the United States should be the most prosperous nation, with equality of opportunity for everyone? Do you think you should be able to buy a gasoline-powered car, an incandescent light bulb, a firearm, or a toilet that flushes effectively? Guess what? You’re a Republican. Your other opinions and the priorities you place on them deserve serious discussion and debate. But let’s come together on the 2014 base model and get some Republicans elected.