Kenny Rogers put it like this:
That’s right. Every election is a gamble. One reason the red side of the aisle loses is because certain quadrants haven’t figured out where to aim. Aka: Poor target acquisition skills. They’re so busy playing I’m-More-Conservative-Than You (aka, purer, holier, more pro-life, more 2nd Amendment-ish, more constitutional, etc., etc., etc.), they can’t locate the real opposition with a Braille road map, let alone bracket it effectively. Translated in the political public square, it comes out like this: Think but what I think, do but what I do, then and only then will I mark my card for you.
Two words here: Grow Up.
This holier-than-thou, ideological litmus test that’s as flexible as rebar and as inclusive as arsenic is Why We Lose. We’re so busy beating one another’s brains in, DemoLibs laugh all the way to the ballot box. And win. Over and over and over. DemoLibs don’t have to beat us; we do it for them.
How stupid is that?
As Kenny Rogers pontificateth:
Every gambler knows that the secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away and knowing what to keep
‘Cause every hand’s a winner and every hand’s a loser
And the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep.
So, when someone sidles up to you and starts playing I’m More Conservative Than You, ask them: Is this (issue or litmus test X) really the hill you want to die on? Is this hill even worth climbing? Note: Many of the “hills” said “holiers” trot out as cataclysmic events aren’t even worth giving up my private Hershey’s stash for. Some battles are worth the fight. Others aren’t. The key is knowing which is which and proceeding accordingly.
Not sayin’ jettison your principles or dump your core convictions for the sake of expediency. Not saying to zig when you should zag, ignore your conscience or turn into a gutless wuss whenever it’s politically convenient. There are some things you don’t budge on, like constitutional fidelity, essential liberty and the rule of law.
Just be sure to get the target and the timing right.
Bottom line: It’s all about majorities. Unless Rs have a majority, we can’t do anything except play defense. Except try to amend the worst of the swill coming out of committees or anywhere else for a vote. All we can do is try to slow down the train wreck. We don’t set the agenda. We don’t chair committees. We don’t determine what bills gets heard, which die, or what comes to the floor for a vote. The Majority gets to do that.
So next time someone turns up his or her sanctimonious, I’m-More-Conservative-Than-You nose up at an 80/20 R (someone you can agree with 80% of the time), try this: rather than throw them under the bus for the 20% you’re unhappy about, consider that they can be educated, persuaded and held accountable by our side a whole lot easier than if they’re on the other, and a less-than-perfect R, though less than perfect, is forever better than another tick in the D column.
You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away and know when to run
You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealing’s done.
 I may expand on this on another post. Stay tuned. (I TOLD you this was the short version!)