Conservatives are in a good position. Those living within the 68 square miles surrounded by reality (otherwise known as Washington, D.C.) or in the depths of social media will vehemently disagree. Still, the facts show that conservatives are in a decent place right now. And are headed in the right direction to gain even more ground over the next few years.
First, conservatives have an overwhelming advantage now on the U.S. Supreme Court. The additions of Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and particularly Amy Coney Barrett will significantly alter the high court — for the better — toward a strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution for decades to come.
Second, liberals will control the Senate, House and White House, but self-proclaimed moderate Sen. Joe Manchin can stop them from ending the filibuster and enacting radical ideas like packing the Supreme Court or passing the so-called Green New Deal.
Third, liberals tend to go too far when they hold power at the federal level. And even if Mr. Manchin stops some of their more radical ideas from becoming law, swing voters will look for balance after hearing about some of the crazy ideas being pushed by those in power. The more people like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez drive the debate, the better it is for Republicans in 2022.
Conservatives were down and out when Bill Clinton won in 1992. During his first two years in office, he pushed radical ideas like “HillaryCare.” By 1994, voters put Newt Gingrich and Republicans in charge of both chambers for the first time since 1952.
Then, in 2008, the election of Barack Obama and Joe Biden caused real concern for conservatives. After two years of Obamacare, massive stimulus spending, and other radical ideas, a Red Wave swept across the nation in 2010 putting Republicans back in charge of the House and Senate, as well as numerous governorships and state legislative majorities across the country. I was a part of that wave.
We won three times in four years in a battleground state because we enacted common-sense conservative reforms. And they worked.
Typically, Democrats get elected when they talk like conservatives. They lose when they govern like liberals. Republicans win when they govern like conservatives and fail when they don’t. An important lesson to get back to the basics.
Fourth, conservatives hold a distinct advantage in the states. As President Reagan appropriately declared in his inaugural address 40 years ago: “All of us need to be reminded that the Federal Government did not create the States; the States created the Federal Government.” The real action is in the states.
Despite predictions of a “Blue Wave” in the November 2020 elections, Republicans maintained state legislative majorities in every state they held and gained control of three more chambers. Republicans also picked up another governorship. They now hold a majority of all the governorships in America and a strong majority of the legislative bodies across the country. That is important for state issues but also for the federal government as most state legislative bodies will draw the new Congressional boundaries going into the 2022 cycle.
Constitutionally-sound maps that are concise and maintain communities of interest will likely lead to the election of more GOP members in the U.S. House as conservatives do well with fair maps. One of the biggest stories in the 2022 races will be that Republicans not only held their ground at the state level, but gained chambers just before redistricting. That makes former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder the biggest loser of the 2020 elections as he was trying to gain control of the states and the courts to gerrymander liberals into long-term control. Thankfully, he failed.
Fifth, Donald Trump increased support from Black and Latino voters. Making gains with non-traditional Republican voters will be key to future success for conservatives. Concrete plans for expanding economic opportunities and entrepreneurship, empowering families to choose the right school for their children and protecting religious liberties will help continue that trend in future elections.
Sixth, working men and women overwhelmingly felt like they had a champion in Donald Trump. Conservatives need to continue to speak directly to blue-collar voters and contrast that with liberals kowtowing to the coastal elites. In particular, there is a real opportunity to make lasting inroads throughout battleground states in the heartland of America.
Finally, Donald Trump nearly won. Despite his own challenges. Despite unprecedented attacks from media outlets, social media, elected officials and a global pandemic, he almost won.
Conservatives need to get back to the fundamentals. We love the United States. We put our faith in the American people while liberals put their faith in federal, state and local governments. We love our children and want them to live free and prosperous lives. And we want the same for our neighbors.
• Scott Walker was the 45th governor of Wisconsin. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him @ScottWalker.
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