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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Saving the GOP

At Commentary, Micahel Gerson and Peter Wehner diagnose the GOP's problems -- changing demographics, inferior candidates, and unappealing messages -- offer a five-point plan for saving the party:
  • First, and most important, is focusing on the economic concerns of working-and middle-class Americans, many of whom now regard the Republican Party as beholden to “millionaires and billionaires” and as wholly out of touch with ordinary Americans...
  • Second, a new Republican agenda requires the party to welcome rising immigrant groups. When it comes to immigration, the GOP has succeeded in taking an issue of genuine concern—namely, the lack of border security—and speaking about it in ways offensive to legal immigrants, including vast numbers of Hispanics and Asian Americans (with whom Romney did even worse than Hispanics...
  • Third, Republicans need to express and demonstrate a commitment to the common good, a powerful and deeply conservative concept. There is an impression—exaggerated but not wholly without merit—that the GOP is hyper-individualistic. During the Republican convention, for example, we repeatedly heard about the virtues of individual liberty but almost nothing about the importance of community or social solidarity, and of the obligations and attachments we have to each other. Even Republican figures who espouse relatively moderate policy prescriptions often sound like libertarians run amok. ...
  • Fourth, the GOP can engage vital social issues forthrightly but in a manner that is aspirational rather than alienating.  Addressing the issue of marriage and family is not optional; it is essential. Far from being a strictly private matter, the collapse of the marriage culture in America has profound public ramifications, affecting everything from welfare and education to crime, income inequality, social mobility, and the size of the state. Yet few public or political figures are even willing to acknowledge that this collapse is happening....
  • Fifth, where appropriate, Republicans need to harness their policy views to the findings of science. This has been effectively done on the pro-life issue, with sonograms that reveal the humanity of a developing child. But the cause of scientific literacy was not aided during the recent primary season, when Michele Bachmann warned that “innocent little 12-year-old girls” were being “forced to have a government injection” to prevent the spread of the human papilloma virus, adding that some vaccines may cause “mental retardation.” Bachmann managed to combine ignorance about public health, indifference to cervical cancer, anti-government paranoia, and discredited conspiracy theories about vaccines into one censorious package.