Possible change in campaign strategy key to the GOP securing election victories in November?

Political expert says there is more of an emphasis on “cultural wedge issues” than on policy debate.
Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 10:09 AM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - In late July, the Gray Washington News Bureau spoke with former Michigan GOP gubernatorial candidate Garrett Soldano at a campaign stop in Marysville, Michigan.

It was just days before the state’s primary election.

“This all started with a Facebook video two years and four months ago,” said Soldano. “The power of one can lead to the power of many.”

The chiropractor campaigned against issues like abortion rights and the teaching of Critical Race Theory. He was among a group of five candidates who were running for office for the first time.

While Soldano ultimately lost to one of his opponents, his style of campaigning is something political analysts say may illustrate a trend in the Republican Party.

“We see now I think an emphasis from within the Republican Party on winning elections by stimulating turnout emphasizing what we call wedge issues, cultural wedge issues rather than specific policies they want to contrast with Democratic candidates,” said Professor Michael Traugott.

Traugott is a professor at the Center of Political Studies at the University of Michigan. He says it’s a strategy to motivate the older Republican base.

“There is an activation by the Republican Party about this kind of nervousness, anxiety which is about their place in society not really about education or jobs in particular,” said Traugott.

At the national level, Republicans say they can compete on all fronts. This extends from the culture wars to traditional pocketbook issues.

“Poll after poll shows that the number one issue for the American people across all demographic groups is the economy,” says Republican National Committee Spokesman Paris Dennard.

Dennard says issues like inflation are an opportunity for the GOP to win big in November.

“We have a tremendous opportunity as Republicans to take back this Congress,” said Dennard. “Take back the Senate.”

All 435 seats are up for election in the House. As of August, Democrats currently hold a 220-211 advantage with four vacant seats. The Senate is currently evenly split, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote.