“Politics should be peer-to-peer, it shouldn’t be a top-down lecture,” says Ed Morrissey, who blogs at Hot Air and is the author of the provocative new book, Going Red: The Two Million Voters Who Will Elect the Next President—and How Conservatives Can Win Them.
Though Morrissey is openly rooting for a Republican victory (unlike many conservatives, he hasn’t even joined the #NeverTrump movement), Going Red is a deeply reported attempt to understand how different groups of voters in different parts of the country have very different issues and concerns. He traveled extensively to seven swing counties in seven different states (Florida, Ohio, Colorado, New Hampshire, and more) to analyze and understand exactly how Democrats and Republicans have connected—or failed to connect—with residents. In Wake County, North Carolina, for instance, Morrissey talks to young libertarian Republicans who tell him that although “all the energy is with the young, the more libertarian movment,” the party generally seems “openly hostile” to a message that stresses “we’re not going to tell you how to live your life.”
The result is a ground-level tour of how actual voters think about actual issues. True to his roots in decentralized online media (not so long ago, Morrissey was a call center operator who blogged on the side), he stresses that political operations have to take cues from business and cultural enterprises that flatten hierarchies and empower two-way conversations.
Regardless of your political persuasion, the results are fascinating for anyone interested in how retail politics must be remade in an age of ubiquitous media, ground-up messaging, and the not-so-slow death of establishment parties.
In a wide-ranging conversation with Reason’s Nick Gillespie, Morrissey also offers up an answer to the question many libertarians have: Why should libertarians care if conservatives or Republicans win the 2016 election? His answer will surprise you.
About 15 minutes. Produced by Alex Manning.
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