A Few Random Thoughts on “Growth and Opportunity”

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The Republican National Committee released its long term assessment report yesterday. Called “Growth and Opportunity,” the document is intended to spell out the current state of the GOP (not good) and ideas on how it can improve. I haven’t read the whole report, but from what I’ve seen in the news I wanted to share these thoughts:

  • This report along with a some speeches by GOP leaders is in some aspects a breath of fresh air. There is an honesty in the report that I haven’t seen in a while among Republicans; a willingness to admit that the current incarnation of the party is scaring whole sectors of American society away. The first step is to admit you have a problem and this report does that.
  • I’m happy for the focus on minority outreach. It would have been nice to have done this prior to getting their butts whooped in November, but it’s at least happening. However, what remains to be seen is how this moves from talk to work. I also haven’t heard of seen any policy ideas other than immigration that will attract minorities. It’s good to extend a hand of friendship, but people vote on what a political party will do for them, not on how nice people are. As Ben Domenech notes, the party needs to set aside things like the debt and tax reform and highlight conservative solutions to problems that Americans face and in this case what persons of color face. Instead of talking about repealing Obamacare, there should be a focus on either reforming it to make it better or offer an alternative program like Health Care Savings Accounts. Will people like these ideas? I don’t know. But you have to offer ideas to fit what problems persons of color face, not what the GOP thinks is important.
  • I’m glad for the focus on social media. The problem here is they will have to link using new media with a credible message.
  • There wasn’t much about same-sex marriage or outreach to gays, but I never expected anything. That said, Republican candidates and local parties, especially those in blue states, should try to reach out to the gay community and even show up at a gay pride festival. Here in Minneapolis the city party has participated in Pride for years.
  • While the report was incredibly positive on reaching minorities, there will be a lot of pushback from the base and the conservative media. The National Review scoffed the attempt to meet with groups like the NAACP and La Raza, saying these minority advocacy groups oppose much of the GOP agenda. Their answer? Destroy them:

RNC chairman Reince Priebus has promised to establish dialogues with groups such as LULAC, La Raza, and the NAACP, which strikes us as unhelpful and willfully blind to the fact that such groups are ideologically opposed to Republican principles. A truly conservative minority-outreach strategy would severely weaken these groups by challenging their claims to represent their respective ethnicities.

And they wonder why people call the GOP racist.

I’m not fan of the NAACP, but if the Republican party wants to be seen as legit in the eyes of persons of color, then the GOP needs to engage these groups. If you go around them, if you work to weaken groups like the NAACP, then don’t expect to get votes from persons of color. For better or worse, groups like La Raza are seen as the legitmate representatives for various ethnic groups. You gotta play with what you have, unless of course, you don’t give a rip about minorities.

  • Finally, despite what National Review says, you have to support immigration reform. Opposing reform offends all Hispanics, even those who are native born Americans and it offends their friends. It doesn’t matter if we don’t get a ton of Latino votes. It doesn’t matter if you think they will just vote for liberals anyway. Opposing immigration reform will send the message that the GOP is against Latinos and that will prevent many folks from throwing the lever to the GOP.

There’s probably more that I could write, but this is what I got for now. After a good start, I’m interested to see how this report could change the GOP.

5 thoughts on “A Few Random Thoughts on “Growth and Opportunity”

  1. Mike

    A book that talked about outreach for Republicans was addressed in Tom Kean Sr’s The Politics of Inclusion. It’s a little dated (it was written in the late 80’s) and it is a biography, but Mr Kean managed to win 60% of the black vote in his reelection just because he showed up and got involved. But Republicans shouldn’t do this in election time, they need to be present all year round.

    I also read articles about Arnold Schwarzenegger being reelected in 2006 (a good year for Democrats) with the majority of Asian-American voters and significant percentages of black and Latino votes just because he showed up and asked (his celebrity status also helped a bit). George W Bush, with all of his mistakes, understood inclusion and was rewarded for doing it.

    I saw his election parties and speeches and I look at the diverse crowds and comparing them to the ones at GOP Presidential Race Parties and I always wondered “Why can’t the GOP think more like Arnold?”

    I have noticed how moderate Republicans generally do better than Republicans when it comes to inclusion. Conservatives can win non-conservative groups if they just show up and ask. But they have marginalized by certain groups who should remain nameless.

    The outreach bit has really been said for decades I’ve seen articles about it going back to the 80’s, but it took the party the loss in 2012 to realize that people wanted to be listened to and not written off and demonized to please a fraction of America’s population. I blame the Southern Strategy on that.

    But the base however as much as I hate to say it isn’t open to it. Not all conservatives and Republicans are like this, but some think the GOP should just die before it becomes accepting of everyone else and write anyone who isn’t white for good (there are some people who have said that). Someone has been listening to too much Pat Buchanan. I’ve talked with some conservatives about reaching out and they see it as the equivalent of suicide. Not to mention what happened at CPAC shows conservatives aren’t willing to get out the bigots.

    Sooner or later, the GOP has to decide: a shrinking base or the future? I’m not holding my breath for the latter until the GOP loses in 2016. If the GOP dies and a new conservative party comes out of that, I can’t see the extremists leaving the new party or going away.

    Another thing is both Kean and Arnold as seen as RINO’s, that’s a bigger problem. I really hate that word. To me, it’s intolerance of a different opinion. The RINO hunters always go after the Republicans that try to appeal to people beyond the base.

    The best possible way to go is slowly get into communities, while we’ll lose the Southern Whites and the Religious Right, we can get more voters and be able to win in states long thought lost forever.

    In a nutshell: Show up and ask for the vote, we’ll lose some white conservatives, but we’ll be able to represent America for once and not just one segment of the population. It won’t be easy, but it’s worth it.

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  2. superdestroyer

    Pandering to minorities while throwing middle class whites under the bus is not way to become a majority party again. There is no way that the Republicans can outpander the Democrats for black or Hispanic votes. Why should loyal Republicans agree to pay more taxes, support more quotas, endure more social engineering, and pay for a bigger, more intrusive government because that is what blacks and Hispanics want.

    Why not try to shame blacks and Hispanics for their culture, their behavior, the the current state of their neighborhoods. Why shame whites for behaving better than blacks and Hispanics?

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  3. Bruce R.Gilson

    You’re not going to get the GOP as a whole tio embrace things like same-sex marriage; there are too many religious “social conservatives” in the party. What we all can hope for is that enpugh Republicans are willing as individuals like Senators Rob Portman and Mark Kirk to stand up to the social conservatives. The GOP is basically the party of individual liberty, but social conservatives’ desire to impose their own religious beliefs on others reduces the GOP’s commitment to personal freedoms.

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  4. Mike

    You know superdestroyer, I could’ve sworn I saw your name in other political discussion boards. You read way too much Pat Buchanan. Could you just be an honest racist and admit you don’t want non-whites in the GOP?

    Bruce,
    Basically, there needs to be enough Republican support so a same sex marriage bill can be passed. Yes, it would piss off social conservatives but the party could get some respect from the LGBT community if enough Republicans dare to vote for it look at Rob Portman. The GOP should just go on no efforts to repeal same-sex marriage once it becomes law. So what if you lose some religious social conservative folks, last time I checked they were dwindling in numbers.

    Can’t help but wonder if the liberal wing of the GOP held their ground and didn’t get purged out, would Republican support for same-sex marriage increase and would gay marriage have gotten passed sooner?

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    1. superdestroyer

      It does not matter what I want. I just repeat the easily provable idea that the more conservative party can never appeal to blacks or Hispanics. Those two groups are the most liberal voters in the U.S. and will never vote for the more conservative party. Throwing middle class whites under the bus to pander to blacks or Hispanics is a losing idea.

      Also, the idea that the more conservative party can ever appeal to LGBT is laughable. That demographic group hates married whites, hate the middle class, and are the biggest bullies in politics. Any conservative who panders to LGBT will lose more votes than they gain. Pandering to homosexuals is a losing idea for conservatives since homosexuals want a powerful big federal government that can be used for social engineering purposes.

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