Tim Scott Hit a Home Run

Sen. Tim Scott recently released a commercial that is a model for unifying positive policies.

by Newt Gingrich

During our five years of work at America’s New Majority Project we have looked for issues and policies that unify the American people.

Our goal is to find a consensus that would lead to a platform of the American people around which a vast majority of Americans – Republicans, Independents, and Democrats – could rally.

Sen. Tim Scott recently released a commercial which is a model for the kind of unifying positive policies and positions which could grow into a Ronald Reagan-sized majority (Reagan won 58.8 percent of the popular vote and the electoral votes of 49 states).

The South Carolina Senator simply and directly said:

“If you’re able-bodied, you work.

“If you take out a loan, you pay it back.

“And if you commit a violent crime, you go to jail.

“And if you’re a man, you should play sports against men.

“America needs more victors and less victims.”

I knew from our many polls and focus groups that each of these positions would be popular in themselves.

But I was curious how the American people would react when you put all of them together into one proposition.

We asked about Sen. Scott’s proposition. When presented with all five principles in one statement, the American people validated everything we have learned at America’s New Majority Project.

Forty-six percent strongly agreed with Sen. Scott’s statement, compared to 7 percent who strongly disagreed. This is an almost 7:1 advantage. There were another 25 percent who somewhat agreed compared to 14 percent who somewhat disagreed.

The combined scores were 71 percent agree versus 21 percent disagree (with 7 percent unsure). This means that Sen. Scott has developed a proposal with a 3 ½:1 advantage over those who oppose him.

I learned from years working with candidate and then President Reagan that when you can get above a 70 percent to 20 percent break on an issue, you should cheerfully stick with it – and repeat it continuously. Your opponent will have to agree with you and stand in your shadow or disagree and side with a tiny minority (think of Vice President Walter Mondale promising to raise taxes in his disastrous 1984 campaign as an example).

Republicans have an opportunity to take Sen. Scott’s proposition and turn it into a clear definition of why most Americans will favor a common-sense future over an unpopular, dysfunctional National Democratic Party vision.

Approval for Sen. Scott’s message extended across ethnic lines with 73 percent of Whites, 68 percent of Blacks, and 62 percent of Hispanics agreeing.

The five proposals also drew support across party lines with 85 percent of Republicans, 66 percent of independents and 59 percent of Democrats approving.

This is clearly an American proposition – not a Republican proposition. It is a unifying proposal – not a divisive one. So, it may be hard for many Republican consultants to figure out how to communicate these positive values in a compelling way. They are used to being divisive and negative, so it may feel strange to be happily positive and unifying (the essence of Reagan’s campaigns and larger success).

For those who worry about young Americans, these ideas seem to have universal appeal. Among 18- to 34-year-olds, the split was 69 percent to 27 percent (31 percent strongly approve to 14 percent who strongly disapprove).

Support strengthens with each succeeding age group, with 82 percent of the 65 and older crowd approving and only 15 percent disapproving.

Donald Trump supporters agree 86 percent to 12 percent. Even Bernie Sanders supporters agree with the Sen. Scott proposal 54 percent to 38 percent. Traditional, non-Trump Republicans are slightly stronger than Trump supporters at 88 percent to 10 percent. Even those with post graduate degrees support the message 69 percent to 25 percent.

Sen. Scott hit a home run. This positive message unifies the overwhelming majority of Americans. The news media and Scott’s competitors should take note.

This was an historic achievement. Sen. Scott deserves a lot of credit for his determination to remain positive, unifying, and forward-looking.

In many ways, his approach validates everything we are developing at America’s New Majority Project.

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