I've also heavily criticized the party in previous posts, leading some (BluePitBull) to question my place within the party. Many criticisms and not a lot of suggestions. So, here is my list, incomplete as it may be, of what I believe the GOP needs to do, change, and become in order to become the party that wins again.
Based on a few sources which I'll name and link here (if possible) as well as heavy opinion, I'll lay out my case.
First of all, Mike Murphy, consultant to many heavy hitters in the GOP, is predicting an "Ice Age" for the Republicans if they don't change things. Why? Because the demographics that kept them in power 20 years ago through the Bush years have changed:
...For years, Republicans won elections because the country was chock-full of white middle-class voters who mostly pulled the GOP lever on Election Day. Today, however, that formula is no longer enough.
...It was a huge shock to the GOP when Barack Obama won Republican Indiana last year. The bigger news was how he did it. Latino voters delivered the state. Exit polls showed that they provided Obama with a margin of more than 58,000 votes in a state he carried by a slim 26,000 votes. That's right, GOP, you've entered a brave new world ruled by Latino Hoosiers, and you're losing.
...In 1980, Latino voters cast about 2% of all votes. Last year it was 9%, and Obama won that Hispanic vote with a crushing 35-point margin. By 2030, the Latino share of the vote is likely to double...Young voters are another huge GOP problem. Obama won voters under 30 by a record 33 points. And the young voters of today, while certainly capable of changing their minds, do become all voters tomorrow...
Rather than face up to all this, too many in the GOP are stuck in a swoon of nostalgia. Most of our party leaders come from bloodred GOP states or safe districts, so they are far more at home in the tribal politics of Republican primaries than in those of the country as a whole. You could say their radio dials are stuck on AM. The result is we hear a lot about going back to "the winning ways of Ronald Reagan." Well, I love Reagan too. But demographics no longer do. In 1980, Reagan beat Jimmy Carter by 10 points. If that contest were held again today, under the current demographics of the electorate per exit polls, the election would be much closer, with Reagan probably winning by about 3 points...
So here is my list, as well as reasons why.
First, I'll start with how to keep the base, and add to it.
- Become fiscally conservative again. The party has lost all credibility with many in the US. The Republican Congress kicked major butt during the Clinton era, balancing the budget. But under Bush, they doubled the US Public Debt, which was projected to have been paid off by now. So while I agree with them crying foul at the Obama stimulus(es) and bail outs, the majority of the country thinks of the word hypocrisy. Become hard line fiscally conservative. Stop talking about "tax cuts." Just keep tax increases off the table. Drop spending, but keep tax rates where they are. Also included in this is scaling back military spending. Not effectiveness, but much of the military spending is redundant & outdated, and not enough is going where it needs to: the men and women serving abroad.
- To keep the conservative Christian crowd, keep the pro-life mantra going. Many evangelicals are one issue voters, especially those over 25. Keep the pro-life issue in the party and you've got them. You'll keep Catholics, too. In this, stay hard line socially conservative.
- To gain the youth, become gay friendly. Most of us have gay friends and family. Most of us are for gay marriage, equality, and the like. We don't see things like the boomers do. Gay marriage is okay. We view the GOP's resistance to this the same as we see the women's suffrage movement, the racial rights movement, and the abolition movement: Old White Guys holding back the minority. If you became gay friendly, but kept being pro-life, you'd still be the socially conservative choice as compared to the Dems.
- To gain the Latino population, become immigrant-friendly. Latinos voted for Obama, plain and simple. Why? Not only was he a Democrat, which historically are better for the immigrant, he spoke to them, not at them. The GOP needs to do the same. Get Latino Republicans to the forefront. I know they exist. Have them put Spanish-speaking ads everywhere. Change the way you look at immigration. Don't do amnesty, but have a graduated plan along the lines of fixing the system now, since it is mind-boggling how difficult and mean it can be to those legally here. Those that are here illegally, make them pay a fine and get in line now. If they don't, and you find them, kick 'em out. If they commit a felony and are convicted before gaining citizenship, kick 'em out. Give them five years to become proficient (not fluent, but proficient) in english before gaining their citizenship. You need to be able to go to the store, pay bills, order pizza, and go to the bank in english.
That's all I have for now. I'll have more later if this post goes well. If anyone wants to add to my list, go right ahead. If anyone would like to (intelligently) debate/discuss those things I did write, you're welcome to. Those that come here to hit and run, calling me "closet" lib, or other such nonsense, will be deleted.
In closing, from Murphy's article linked above:
Saving the GOP is not about diluting conservatism but about modernizing it to reflect the country it inhabits instead of an America that no longer exists.