Being a conservative, Sen. Jim DeMint says, means preserving the ideas and principles that work.

But being conservative doesn’t mean you can’t change and modernize to keep up with the times, he says. Rather, it means identifying and recognizing the policies that make life better and the country stronger, and preserving them and integrating them into new models as things change. It’s the principles behind the policies that work that are timeless.

In an interview for the forthcoming Heritage Members News, The Heritage Foundation’s president-elect said he believes Heritage is integral in preserving these timeless principles. Through our research, we have demonstrated that these policies have worked in the past and can work in the future.

The challenge, however, is that conservative ideas aren’t always well-marketed. The perception of conservative ideas diverges from their reality, says DeMint, who starts in April as Heritage’s president. This is a familiar problem for DeMint, who worked as a marketer before running for Congress. In marketing, facts don’t really matter to the consumer. What matters is what they perceive: perception is reality in this case, not truth.

Unfortunately, we live in a time in which people will ignore the facts and sound arguments. Instead, too many Americans believe the fantasies told to them:

The other side, through fabrications and fantasies, has convinced a lot of Americans that policies that hurt them are really good for them. We as The Heritage Foundation have got to use our research and analytical capabilities to better understand perceptions that Americans have toward conservatism, so that we can figure out how to convince them that our ideas will make their lives better. We need to focus on 100 percent of Americans. It’s ironic to me that the people our policies help the most, such as the poor and minorities, are least likely to support our ideas. We’ve got a big job ahead of us– convincing these groups that our ideas work– and we are going to be ready to lead.

Heritage’s role, DeMint argues, is to enlighten the American people by proving the failure of liberal ideas and the enduring strength of the conservative alternatives.

How do you think we can better explain the strength of conservative ideas?

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