This week the Grand Old Party released a comprehensive review of how it needs to improve in order to survive as a party. The paper explicitly says, “It is time to smartly change course, modernize the Party, and learn once again how to appeal to more people, including those who share some but not all of our conservative principles.” With the exception of immigration, however, the paper was devoid of any changes to the message. The proposals were largely cosmetic, ranging from which communities to address, what fundraising techniques to use, and which spokespeople to use. Nowhere does it address the largest stumbling block and ideological puzzle that plagues the party: government intervention in social issues.
One would think that a party that generally promotes individual responsibility, small government, and free economics would naturally extend that view to civil issues. However, the Republican Party remains extremely opposed to gay marriage, and other interventionist issues that many feel infringe upon individual liberty. In more difficult issues, such as abortion, the party continually brings up disagreements that arise out of fundamental beliefs and premises that will not be changed by force of argument. Instead of building a coalition of the willing, the party invites discord and guarantees its own demise.
To use an analogy, when voting for a dog catcher, why should you care where (or if) he goes to church? The pertinent issues to consider is will he control the animal population and will he do it affordably. This is what the Republicans need to realize. The party platform needs to be reduced to what everyone can agree on. You want a strong military? I’m on board with that. You want a robust and growing economy? Everyone can agree on that. You want a limited government and lower taxes? Show me where to sign.
Building a coalition is like writing a contract. You have to remove the deal breakers, and everything else can be negotiated. When you include a message that marginalizes the atheists and agnostics, you already lost 20% of the vote. People that may agree with you on every other issue have stopped listening to your message. You are sacrificing issues that follow the core functions of government, such as rule of law and keeping people safe. You open the door for policies that redistribute wealth and damage the economic prosperity of all. You are arguing about the furniture when the house is on fire.
The policy paper repeatedly states that the party needs to be inclusive and welcoming for all voters. Does that mean that agnostics, atheists, and homosexuals don’t vote? There is only one concrete policy suggestion in the entire 100 page document, and the rest is cosmetic.
So tell me, do you want to win or do you want to be “right”?
RNC Report, Growth & Opportunity Project: http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/RNCreport03182013.pdf
The Wall Street Journal, GOP Issues Scathing Self-Analysis: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323415304578367311933111522.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_LEFTTopStories
Have Political Parties Lost Their Purpose? http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/have-political-parties-lost-their-purpose/2013/03/18/2486608e-8d9f-11e2-9838-d62f083ba93f_story.html?wpisrc=nl_politics