Over the last few decades, the GOP has done little to stay up to date with the ever-changing world. They admit, “Our Party knows how to appeal to older voters, but we have lost our way with younger ones.” At its peak, three decades ago, the GOP held the ideals of much of the nation and was lead by the great Ronald Reagan. However, in today’s society, Republicans acknowledge that they are described as “scary, narrow minded, and out of touch.”
During the last election season, the GOP was attacked when Todd Akin and other Republicans expressed their controversial opinions on rape. In addition, Mitt Romney’s opposition of Planned Parenthood and “binders full of women” slip only managed to shed a more negative light. Leaders of the GOP have consistently made offensive, derogatory, and sometimes clueless comments regarding the rights and concerns of several minorities. Many of their statements certainly give a bigoted impression to the groups that are involved, and push them farther away from voters. “The perception that the GOP does not care about people is doing great harm to the Party and its candidates on the federal level.” Bottom line: If race and gender minorities continue to feel misrepresented and disrespected, the GOP will lose influence.
Unless the party works towards catering to a wider audience, they will continue to be seen as the majority of the nation’s youth sees them: “a party of stuffy old men.”
On Monday, the RNC released their 100 page Growth and Opportunity Project in hopes of gaining back the respect their party once had. Although this project discusses campaigning, financing, and the primary process, the main interests are to help Republicans to reconnect with minorities, women and young voters.
First, by breaking minority groups down into three different subdivisions: Hispanics, African Americans and Asian and Pacific Islander Americans (APA), the RNC feels that they can focus on the specific needs of each group. One recommendation within each of these subdivisions is to “improve on promoting [minority] staff and candidate within the party. The GOP should utilize [minority] elected officials as surrogates both in their communities and with the national media.”
The Cuban-American Senator, Marco Rubio (R-FL) is an obvious choice to be the voice for the Hispanic community. Rubio has been attracting a lot of media attention as a leader within the Republican Party by standing up to Democrats and offering his opinion on key issues, such as immigration.
Next, Republicans will be more actively taking interest in women’s opinions and encouraging them to run for offices. By understanding women the GOP will be less likely to be castigated for be insensitive to women’s rights.
Finally, the GOP will also be concentrating on winning some of the 5 million youth votes they were unable to capture last presidential race by being more engaged with pop culture. Additionally, they will be rebranding their party with young faces such as, “Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Kelly Ayotte and Bobby Jindal.”
However, with Paul Ryan’s main concentration being on Obamacare and Medicare, his aura appeals to the older generation. Kelly Ayotte and Bobby Jindal are relatively unknown to mainstream society, so I would look for the GOP to keep endorsing Marco Rubio as both a youthful and Hispanic leader, as well as a strong choice as a potential Presidential candidate.
The RNC believes that, “The Grand Old Party should be synonymous with the name ‘Growth and Opportunity Party.’” Conversely, the GOP is recognized as very deeply divided on major current issues, such as same sex marriage which “is supported by a vast 81 percent of adults younger than 30.”
Earlier this week House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said “Listen, I believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. It’s what I grew up with. It’s what I believe. It’s what my church teaches me. And I can’t imagine that position would ever change.” Boehner represents many of the conservative voices, even if they seem extreme, because as House Speaker he must be willing to stand up for the conservative principle his party stands for.
The real question is whether or not Republicans will rally around the idea of change. If not, the “Growth and Opportunity Party” will soon be turning into the Growing Old Party.