Today’s highly interesting read (08/18/22): 51 Iron Rules of Politics

Today’s read is from blogger and master of the lists, John Hawkins.

There are always exceptions to the rules, but the rules are the rules for a reason.

1) There is no problem in America today that can best be solved by giving more money or power to the government.

2) The ultimate key to winning is not getting the right politician in office, it’s convincing a critical mass of Americans you’re right. Once you get that critical mass and get them fired up, finding the right politician gets easy. 

3) The politician closest to you, governs the best. In other words, the mayor you may see in the supermarket will do a better job of representing your interests than the governor in the state capital, who in turn, does a much better job of governing than politicians in DC.

4) You win many more political battles by building on your small wins and continuously making incremental gains than you do by trying to make big advances all at once.

5) “I think the problem with (elected Republicans) is… they don’t like blood in the water. I mean that in a figurative sense. They don’t like shaking things up. They’re afraid to be effective because to be effective is to be hated.” — James O’Keefe (Note: James O’Keefe said that about “the Right,” but I think it’s much more applicable to elected Republicans because there are an awful lot of people on the Right who don’t mind shaking things up.)

6) Politicians and government employees will forget that it’s their job to serve the American people, not vice-versa unless they are regularly reminded of it by being fired, voted out of office, or by being prosecuted when they break the law.


8) In any sort of competitive contest, the candidate who comes across as most likable to a normal person usually wins.

9) If you are losing in politics, the problem is always you, not the voters.

10) Never hesitate to primary a disappointing Republican in a red state/district. Be confident your candidate is electable if you decide to primary a candidate in a purple state/district. Almost never primary Republicans in blue states/districts because anyone you really like isn’t going to win a general.

11) Whenever there’s a major new problem in American life, if you look deeply enough, you’ll almost always find the federal government at the root of it.

12) Much of the Left’s political power is an illusion driven by their control of what gets amplified or criticized in the mainstream media and on social media. If anything, Republicans that call their bluff usually benefit.

13) Smart politicians do everything they can to keep their base happy while simultaneously making efforts to please as many independents as possible.

14) Everything starts with winning in politics. If you don’t win, you’re not in power. If you’re not in power, you can’t do anything other than play defense.


16) If everyone in Congress hates each other and no one’s word is any good, it’s impossible to make deals that go beyond the very short term. That’s unfortunate because a nation cannot be effectively governed via short-term deals.

17) Outreach to groups that don’t normally vote for you is expensive, time-consuming, and often unrewarding in the short term. Over the long term, it’s the difference between victory and defeat.

18) The Republican Party is strongest in statewide and larger elections when a candidate can appeal to both the grassroots and country club/business wings of the party.

19) The GOP loses winnable elections when Republicans push the Country Club agenda at the expense of the grassroots or alternately when Republican politicians go so over-the-top trying to establish their credibility to the grassroots that they irritate the middle and the country clubbers.

20) Anything that reduces the power, cuts the budget or shrinks the size of the federal government is a good thing.

21) Anything that increases the power, raises the budget or increases the size of the federal government is a bad thing.

22) The more things the government tries to do, the worse it inevitably gets at the relatively small number of basic tasks it’s supposed to do.

23) No politician can do a better job of representing your interests and spending your money than you can do yourself, although many of them believe otherwise.

24) The government doesn’t do anything as cheaply, efficiently, or competently as the private sector.


26) Slippery slopes are a real thing and if you start down them today, there’s a really good chance you’re going the rest of the way down them in the next decade or two no matter how much people insist it won’t happen.

27) A Republican will never beat a Democrat in a contest to see who can give away the most taxpayer money.

28) Polls are an imprecise measure and yes, some of them are deliberately skewed, but ignoring polls or pretending they’re meaningless except when you like the result is as dumb as ignoring a compass when you’re lost in the woods.

29) The only way to convince the other side that they’re too radical is to beat them in several elections in a row.

30) It’s not about picking the candidate you like best; it’s about picking the candidate you like best that can win.

31) If you’re a Republican, the mainstream media is not your friend, is not trustworthy, and will only say nice things about you if you’re undermining the interests of your own party or furthering the interests of the Democratic Party.

32) Every story is covered by the press fundamentally differently depending on whether it serves liberal or conservative issues.


34) Unless you are very well connected, the more government you have in your life, the worse off you are.

35) In the majority of political races in America, special interest groups are far more influential than voters. That’s because when only one party has a chance of winning, the only threat to a politician is a special interest-fueled primary challenge.

36) In any contested race, Democrats will always lie about what they intend to do while Republicans will struggle to get the voters to believe the truth about their agenda.

37) “Jane’s Law: The devotees of the party in power are smug and arrogant. The devotees of the party out of power are insane.” – Megan McCardle


39) There is no constituency for spending cuts in American politics. There are Libertarians and conservatives that CLAIM to want to cut spending, but when it gets down to the particulars, almost all of them join the landslide going in the other direction.

40) Anyone telling you that you’re a victim is not your friend.

41) Anyone arguing that we need to give more power to the government is not your friend.

42) Anyone trying to convince you to be less free is not your friend.


44) If you demand that conservative pundits, radio hosts, and media outlets tell you what you want to hear to stay in your good graces, the time will come when you are shocked to find out the world isn’t what you thought it was because you’ve been told so many pleasant lies.

45) Never publicly apologize in politics. Your friends don’t need it and your enemies will use it to try to destroy you.

46) If you’re defending, you’re losing.

47) It doesn’t matter how destructive, stupid, or obviously wrong an idea is, if there’s money to be made or votes to be had, there will be people championing and promoting it.

48) Not only will a third party always fail in America unless it can displace one of the two main parties, which is incredibly unlikely, it will, by its very nature, hurt the party closest to it in views by stealing their voters.


50) When both parties are quick to cooperate, either they’re both profiting at the American people’s expense, they’re agreeing to dole out pork, or they’re about to push through some horrible legislation because of an “emergency” that we’ll all regret later.

51) Politicians need to be trained like dogs. Treats and belly scratches when they do good and lots of “That’s a bad boy” and having their nose rubbed in it when they do bad.

One thought on “Today’s highly interesting read (08/18/22): 51 Iron Rules of Politics

  1. Pingback: Trump wins in 2022; Cheney & Lincoln; political rules; educators holding kids hostage; anti-Catholic incidents | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s