University of Tennessee student Treston Wheat has some good advice for the Republican leaders in the next session of Congress, so they won”t squander the mandate they have been given by the American people.

Now that the GOP has taken back the legislature, if they want to change this country for the better they have to wield power affectively while thinking about the future. To do this they need to better understand and apply party politics. By utilizing the party system, the GOP could more efficaciously run the government by filling positions and creating network of policy experts. Republicans need to think beyond this election and even the 2016 presidential election; they must take a long-term strategic view of politics, policy, and power.

…Most political scientists understand and are committed to the notion that political parties are beneficial to national politics.  Parties are especially important in Congress where they have a larger presence and role than in presidential politics, which is more about the particular candidate. Presidentially, parties took a more national outlook because of the nature of the primary elections after 1968. Yet this move to direct primaries also changed the nature of parties at the state level as well. Previously parties were strong in states, and they operated “party machines.” Party machines began to break apart when the electorate had a much larger say in who would get nominated for the party. State organizations are no longer the sine qua non of political involvement.

We have to build on more than popularity and a single election or person; we need to build a lasting coalition. Maintenance and change take time in a large system. …

To succeed Republicans also need to focus on how their policies will help each demographic and the country as a whole. For instance, surveys have shown African-Americans support policies like school choice, which would overwhelmingly help the black community. But this also means showing current Democratic constituencies how liberal policies hurt them. For example, radical environmentalist policies, like Obama’s anti-coal and anti-Keystone positions, increase consumer prices and put blue collar workers out of jobs. Blue collar workers typically support the Democrats, but this is a chance to break the left’s coalition by revealing their internal conflicts.

Bringing all of this together and re-establishing a strong party system, the GOP and conservatives have the chance to influence the country and govern efficiently for decades. Republicans have historically lagged behind in registered party members to the Democrats, but now is the opportunity to become the dominant political party.

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