Question of the weekBecause of demographic changes and ideological shifts, some contend that the Republican Party must expand its base and broaden its appeal to maintain national relevancy. What is your view of the future of the Republican Party? What, if anything, should the GOP do to broaden its base and become more formidable?
Despite representing ideas that are more attractive to a majority of Americans than Democrats, the Republican Party has placed itself at concerning disadvantage in terms of broad national appeal. And the problem is of the GOP's own making.
According to the Republican National Committee's website, the GOP has a "core belief in the primacy of individuals," and, since its inception, the Republican Party "has been at the forefront of the fight for individuals' rights in opposition to a large, intrusive government." Those timeless principles of limited, responsible government, individual liberty and personal responsibility are rooted in the Founding Fathers' vision for the United States and remain consistent with the preference of Americans today.
But rather than reaching out to wide swaths of Americans with ideas that limit the size and scope of government, the Republican Party has instead focused on genuflecting to a small portion of its base in recent years.
The GOP has been, in effect, hijacked by a small wing of the conservatives who, rather than limiting government, choose instead to exploit government for their own purposes. Interested in growing programs they saw as valuable, and informed by religion, rather than principles of liberty, economic realities or scientific fact, this faction succeeded in limiting the rights of some, benefiting the bottom lines of others, imposing their version of morality on the masses, and protecting and growing a number of expensive and ill-advised government programs.
As a result, constitutional rights have been trampled, federal spending skyrocketed, the United States often feels like a police state, certain Americans are treated like second-class citizens and ideas of freedom are underrepresented in Washington.
In order for the Republican Party to win the White House, reach out to more Americans and remain relevant in the future, it needs to focus on liberty. By empowering individuals to make the decisions that impact their lives and the lives of their family, the GOP can again becoming the party of freedom -- and that commitment to liberty will attract the hearts, minds and votes of Americans.
- The Free Press
Media communications director for Republican National Committee Hispanic
A record 11.2 million Latinos voted in the 2012 presidential election, and future projections estimate that number is likely to double in upcoming years. It is clear America is changing demographically, and Republicans will be working to reach every voter with our message. The RNC understands Hispanics aren't a monolithic group. Hispanics are swing voters. They voted for George W. Bush and re-elected Barack Obama.
Given the changing face of America and the fact that Hispanics are moved by ideas rather than party-line politics, the RNC is increasing our Hispanic engagement efforts -- along with an increased focus on Asian-American and African-American communities -- years before the next election. We understand that having a longstanding presence in the community will help strengthen our relationships on the ground. We are taking our message of jobs and the economy, education, faith and family to the Latinos, engaging with and listening to their concerns.
America is changing demographically, but history shows it is the power of ideas that changes us the most. We should never look at Americans and assume we can't reach them. Great ideas reach everyone.
Gregory T. Angelo
Executive director of Log Cabin Republicans
Log Cabin Republicans has long held that the path to victory for the GOP is held in espousing the founding tenets of the party -- to wit: liberty and equality. The best Republicans still understand that. What we're pushing for at Log Cabin Republicans isn't some ideological shift, but a return to first principles.
Marriage is a contentious issue, but Republicans no longer walk in lockstep on it. To date, more than 200 Republicans nationwide have voted for the freedom to marry, and hundreds of prominent members of the party have expressed similar support -- many of these Republicans did so long before President Obama and Hillary Clinton "evolved."
So we need to respect differences within the party, while making the case to others outside the party that the best chance to elevate and empower the individual comes when you vote Republican.
Chairman of the College Republican National Committee
In our recently released report, "Grand Old Party for a New Generation," the College Republican National Committee examines the issues facing the Republican Party and lays out the fact that the problem is not one founded in ideology but rather centered on perception. Young voters agree with Republican policies when they are removed from the party name, but the Republican brand has been damaged among young people through a combination of ineffective communication and messaging on our part.
Last week the interest rate on federal student loans doubled because Democrats in the Senate took no action. Republicans in the House passed HR 1911 to prevent the rates from doubling a month before the deadline, giving Democrats time to act. Now Democrats are blaming the problem on "dysfunctional House Republicans" because that line of messaging is impactful with young people, even if the Democrats know it is not true.
Moving forward, the Republican Party must communicate with young voters through mediums where they already exist, online and on campus. We must not cede the perception that we are caring and connected to young people, and do a job showing young voters the ideals embodied by the Republican Party are the ideals they already hold.