Republicans: GOP needs to get with the times or become a permanent minority
Sadly, I have been advocating the very things the GOP are now discussing, but I have been doing it for several years. The biggest fault of the GOP is that they are unable and I must say most often are unwilling to communicate conservative ideology in human terms, showing clearly, in easy to understand images, how they are better for the average voter, especially minorities. But, until now the GOP has been tone deaf, they think they have the right message and dammit the people are just stupid if they do not see our greater intelligence and accept our solutions. How many times have I been beaten up for pleading for the GOP to learn how to communicate, to get experts to help them, not to lie, not massage the message, but to simply learn how to make the sale in more compassionate terms.
The GOP refuses to catch up to the modern communications age and understand how to use modern methods to reach the most people and in terms they understand. It is the sound bite, twitter generation, a modern people that will not look deep into issues, they want it in short, clear sentences they can understand and can quickly absorb. It is also vital to use it to reach certain demographics to get better poll reactions to messages and then to respond fast to every changing event.
This does not require changing the GOP core beliefs, against things like abortion or illegal immigration or gay marriage; if we do that, we are just conservative Democrats and might as well disband as a party. It is a matter of knowing the mood of the people on these issues and crafting our messages in ways that bring them along with us, not treating them as the enemy. In short, we blew it not because of our core beliefs, but because we were the elite, the green eyeshade accountants that refused to look up from the ledgers and make real contact with real people in the modern ways of communicating, crafting everything in terms of human needs, treating them not like numbers, but people.
Some of the early prescriptions offered by officials and operatives to rebuild after devastating elections: retool the party message to appeal to Latinos, women and working-class people; upgrade antiquated get-out-the-vote systems with the latest technology. Teach candidates how to handle the new media landscape.
The party “has to modernize in a whole wide range of ways,” added former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who ran against White House nominee Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential primary. “We were clearly wrong on a whole range of fronts.”
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal attributed Romney’s loss to a lack of “a specific vision that connected with the American people.”
Across the board, Republicans say that arguably the most urgent task facing the party is changing its attitude about immigration as it looks to woo Hispanics. This rapidly growing group voted overwhelmingly for Obama, by margins of 7-to-1 over Romney, who had shifted to the right on the issue during the GOP primary.
Republicans said they also have work to do with single women and younger voters, many of whom tend to be more liberal on social issues than the current Republican Party. These Republicans said a change in tone is needed, though not a change in principles such as opposition to abortion.
“We need to make sure that we’re not perceived as intolerant,” said Ron Kaufman, a veteran Republican strategist who advised Romney’s campaign. “The bottom line is we were perceived to be intolerant on some issues. And tone-deaf on others.”
Party leaders also said the GOP needs to change how it communicates its message. Obama’s campaign, they said, was particularly effective at talking directly to voters, and building relationships over long periods of time, whereas the GOP was more focused on top-down communication such as TV ads and direct mail.
“There are whole sections of the American public that we didn’t even engage with,” Gingrich said.
“We need candidates who are capable of articulating their policy positions without alienating massive voting blocs,” said Kevin McLaughlin, a Republican operative who worked on several Senate races for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Many Republicans say the party doesn’t have a choice but to change — and quickly.
Said Kaufmann: “In this business, either you learn and grow or you die.”