The Winston Group is a strategy and research firm dedicated to making ideas matter.

Roll Call: America Doesn’t Care How the Sausage is Made

by Emily O'Connor

The WG’s David Winston argues how voters care primarily about outcomes and results, while Washington is stuck on the process.

Americans are tired of process. They don’t want to know how the sausage is made. Who is up and who is down in D.C. Which party is at fault this week or predictions of who will take the fall next week. They really don’t care about the internal machinations of the Republican or Democratic House and Senate conferences. All they want to know about the “sausage” is whether it will impact them and how.

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Roll Call: To Filibuster or Not to Filibuster?

by Emily O'Connor

The WG’s David Winston writes that the Senate is at a major inflection point and how the increasing use of the filibuster breeds problematic uncertainty:

It’s clear the Senate filibuster — or just the threat of it — has become the enemy of progress. But is it the structure of the filibuster itself or simply the unwillingness of the minority to cooperate or compromise?

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Roll Call: The Schumer Chaos Strategy

by Emily O'Connor

The WG’s David Winston writes that the Democrats are attempting to divert the public’s attention from an improving economy.

Understanding the media’s penchant for shiny objects, the Senate minority leader creates chaos. From government shutdowns to short-term CRs to warnings on all things Russian to blowing up DACA talks, it’s all to ensure media attention is anywhere but on the latest economic news, whether it’s growing 401(k)s, rising employment or corporate announcements of wage hikes, bonuses, bigger pension contributions or plant investments, all linked to the tax bill.

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Roll Call: Independents Can Help GOP Withstand Blue Wave

by Emily O'Connor

The WG’s David Winston argues that it was mainly independents, not other demographic groups or party bases, which drove recent Democratic gains in Virginia, Alabama, and Wisconsin:

Is a blue wave about to hit the GOP head on? While a higher turnout usually favors Democrats as we saw in Virginia, Republicans have won key House and Senate races in high-turnout years. 2016 is a good example. However, Democrats don’t necessarily need a presidential year to win either, as we saw in 2006. But whatever the turnout this fall, both parties need independents to win.

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Roll Call: Groundhog Day in America

by Emily O'Connor

The WG’s David Winston writes that Washington dysfunction is driven by a system that rewards clicks and quick media hits over cooperation and compromise:

Good governance takes second place to good copy and cable hits. Politicians on both sides who drive controversy through bombast and division are rewarded by their parties and the media, and this system has created a reality so skewed that average voters can no longer tell what’s important and what’s hype.

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Roll Call: The Perils of Impeachment

by Emily O'Connor

In his latest for Roll Call, David Winston discusses why the Democratic refrain of impeachment sounds like partisan rhetoric rather than a serious solution to the problems voters want to see changed:

Voters, whose mood may be improving, remain skeptical of both parties and this president. What they are saying is that this country is facing serious problems overseas and at home, especially at home. Until the Russia investigations show them something more than they’ve seen so far, Democratic calls for impeachment seem nothing more than shrill partisan rhetoric from a party that still doesn’t understand how it lost in 2016.

The Russia story may garner eyeballs and clicks because of its sensationalism, and people believe that the integrity of our elections is important. But they see much of the coverage and the investigations themselves as nothing but partisan game playing, much as voters saw the Clinton impeachment 20 years ago.

Roll Call: New Year – Same Volatile Electorate

by Emily O'Connor

The WG’s David Winston argues that hard and fast assumptions about 2018 midterms are premature:

The mistake too many pundits are making today is thinking that the volatility which characterized the 2016 electorate and drove the outcome is now an albatross draped solely around the Republicans’ collective neck. What they fail to understand is that both parties are at risk.

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Roll Call: Tax Cuts by the Numbers

by Emily O'Connor

The WG’s David Winston discusses how Republicans can sell the tax reform plan after passage:

The 2017 Republican tax cuts will soon become law, but the debate over the GOP’s economic plan to jump-start a growth economy is just beginning. As often happens with tax cut proposals, it can be a tough sell initially for reasons beyond usual voter skepticism.

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Roll Call: “Issues Matter in Elections Even More Than You’d Think”

by Emily O'Connor

David Winston’s latest for Roll Call reviews the 2016 election and the importance of voter issue priorities:

So what does this analysis show really happened in 2016? Trump won the issues that mattered.

In the future, both political parties need to recognize that the electorate has a clear set of priorities. Issues matter — and going forward, they may matter much more than demographics.

Roll Call: “Bottom of the Ninth”

by Emily O'Connor

The WG’s David Winston writes for Roll Call on what outcomes matter to an electorate that feels this is the “bottom of the ninth” for the middle class:

…In the end, there are two numbers that will matter most in the 2018 election: How many jobs have been created and how much have wages gone up? Transformational tax reform legislation is essential to create the kind of economic growth that delivers both. This is a battle Republicans must win — on the floor and in homes and businesses across the country.

Principles are important. But you can’t win without outcome-based policy products that connect with people.

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