During the last election campaign there was much talk about the Latino Vote, the African-American Vote, the Asian vote, the Soccer-Mom Vote, the Jewish Vote, but no talk about the one vote that tipped the scales of this presidential campaign in favor of Obama: the Illiterate Vote.

The most successful Republican presidential candidate of the past half century — Ronald Reagan, who was elected and reelected with landslide victories — bore little resemblance to the moderate candidates that Republican conventional wisdom depicts as the key to victory, even though most of these moderate candidates have in fact gone down to defeat.

The fiscal cliff draweth nigh. A lame-duck Congress and a triumphant President have six weeks to effect a deal that will keep the country from plunging over it. And right now, while both sides pay lip service to the idea of compromise, it looks like they’ll play chicken right up to the edge.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, there has been much talk about price gouging. New Jersey is prosecuting some who engaged in it, and pundit Bill O’Reilly has threatened to put offending gas stations in his fearsome Factor pillory. But is this prudent?

If non-white voters can only be gotten by pandering to them with goodies earmarked for them, then Republicans are doomed, even if they choose to go that route. An alternative way to make inroads into the overwhelming majority of minority votes for Democrats would be for the Republicans to articulate a coherent case for their principles and the benefits that those principles offer to all Americans.

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