Anyone who has worked in politics and policy, especially in a communications role, knows how hard it is to get your audience to pay attention to your agenda. As I write in The Dispatch, in politics, and every other area of life, we make “opportunity cost” decisions. In other words, we recognize trade-offs and make choices between competing priorities. No day better illustrated this challenge for the modern GOP than March 30, 2023, when Trump’s indictment came seven hours after the House GOP passed its signature agenda item, H.R. 1 the Lower Energy Costs Act.
Shifting the conservation, flipping a script, and changing people’s perceptions about who “cares” about a set of issues – and who has the best policies to produce positive results – takes years of persistent hard work. The good news is that while Trump’s indictment is divisive, millions of Americans really are open to the GOP’s case for H.R. 1. Our sister organization, C3 Action, has a poll showing that the core policies and concepts of H.R. 1 are very popular with the electorate.
The economy or the climate? Why not both?
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Some in the GOP will argue that you can both defend Trump (I agree the indictment is political and flimsy) and H.R. 1 with equal vigor but that isn’t how life works. Voters will decide what the GOP cares about most based on how it allocates its words and time. Directing finite resources at promoting H.R. 1 over Trump will be good for the people, planet and politicians.