Issue Of The Week LIV: The Republican Party In Disagreement About What To Do To Win Elections As America Becomes More of A Nation Of Minorities — Where No One Group Is Large Enough To Determine The Outcome

April 15, 2013
Written by The Associated Press in
National Collegiate Dialogue
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Saul Anuzis, former Republican National committeeman, says the Republican Party is dealing with a tremendous amount of frustration over losing the Presidential election. Photo Credit:

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Some U.S. Republican leaders on Wednesday pushed back against a new comeback plan after a poor showing in last year's elections, saying the party shouldn't give up its conservative stance on sensitive but core issues like immigration and gay marriage.

The opposition party has been in a fever of self-inspection since President Barack Obama easily won re-election over a Republican candidate whose tough talk about deportation repelled many Hispanic voters.

The new turnaround plan focuses on attracting more young and minority voters to a party whose aging white male image risks looking out of the mainstream. Both groups of voters heavily backed Obama.

But as members of the Republican National Committee met for the first time since the comeback plan came out last month, some gave it mixed reviews and hinted at sticking to their previous positions.

"We've got a long way to go, but we've got to start somewhere - as long as we don't abandon the platform," said Republican Joan Reynolds from Alabama.

Some Republican leaders have said the report would alienate the party's most devout members and cost the party more votes than it gains.

Committee officials said the RNC remains committed to its long-held positions in opposition to allowing immigrants in the country illegally to stay and opposing gay marriage. But last month's report, based on three months of work by a team of national party strategists, states starkly that the Republican Party has lost the ability to attract voters who disagree.

Former RNC Committeeman Saul Anuzis said the talk highlights tension between state-level party activists who preferred a more conservative nominee for president last year than Mitt Romney and moderates who saw the former Massachusetts governor as a better match for Obama.

"I think that there's clearly a tremendous amount of frustration in the grassroots for losing," Anuzis said.

In Washington, Sen. Rand Paul said Wednesday that Republicans face long odds in connecting with black voters and are often cast as unsympathetic to the needs of blacks and minorities - something he said the party needs to change.

The potential 2016 presidential candidate said in a speech at the historically black Howard University that the Republican Party was rooted in the presidency of Abraham Lincoln and efforts to rid the South of oppressive laws against blacks. He expressed hope that black voters would be more open to Republicans, pointing to policies promoting economic opportunity and the decriminalization of drug laws.

alt"Republicans face a daunting task. Several generations of black voters have never voted Republican and are not very open to considering the option," Paul said.

Obama, the first black U.S. president, received more than 9 in 10 votes from blacks in 2008 and 2012 and strong support among Latinos.

Paul was briefly interrupted during his speech, by a young man who unfurled a banner who said the university does not support "white supremacy." The man was removed from the auditorium.

Several students Wednesday said they didn't agree with Paul on many issues.

"It could be very intimidating. You're sitting in a room with people who don't support you for the most part, so I do give him credit for coming," said Tasia Hawkins, an 18-year-old.

Will more leaders and elected officials over the next several years have to reach out to those minorities, blacks, and Latinos in particular, that they have ignored and marginalized?

What do you think?

Associated Press writers Thomas Beaumont in Los Angeles and Ken Thomas in Washington contributed.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

National Collegiate Dialogue


I can see the conflict that

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2013-37 on

I can see the conflict that Republicans face. Should they change their stance on issues to draw in more votes and attract different demographics? Or should they keep their stance and deter people away? I don't think that they will change their stance since many of the changes discussed are what their main platform is. If they changed that it would go against a large majority of their party. I think it is probably hardest for gay and lesbian Republicans because for the most part they show support for a party that is openly opposed to them.

Inclusion of Gay Groups Important

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2013-44 on

I agree that the Republican party should be savvy enough to recognize that a number of members of the gay and lesbian community are conservative and maintain conservative values. Those shared values unto themselves should be enough for the party to welcome these people into their fold.

As a young voter I understand

Submitted by NIAGARA-S2013-33 on

As a young voter I understand why Republican's would want to try and change their views. However I believe that is was what politics, politics. If they abolish their views then as a young voter or politician I will have no opinion of side to pick. Although there are extreme conservative parties that are hurtful toward minority groups they are often just expressing opinions. I believe that as diverse as the United States is becoming we must learn to accept that everyone will have different opinions because we are never going to all be able to decide on the same beliefs and choices. We can however decide that not every view will be the same as ours. I believe that politicians should be more concerned about getting the United States back into a successful running nation no matter what belief, race, or choice.

I would have to agree that if

Submitted by UCCS-S2013-15 on

I would have to agree that if the Republicans want another go at the White House they will have to change their methods of doing so. I feel that the strong opposition against immigration greatly damaged the Republicans chance in winning the last election. My issue would be that what if they changed their approach, but their agenda was the same? In the article there was the statement about Republicans possibly gaining votes with minorities if they had policies that promoted economic chances for minorities and decriminalized drug laws. I would agree with the first part, but not the decriminalization of drug laws. Honestly I don't think that point should have been made. That's compromising your beliefs to hopefully get votes and also its saying that minorities want those things. I’m a minority and I do not want drug laws decriminalized. I think the comments made by Republicans in this last election have permanently damaged the way they are seen by minorities and I honestly don't know how they will fix that.

Former republican-new idependent

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2013-33 on

I see a political party holding onto socially constructed belief systems that are not addressing the new minority voices fighting to be heard. How a political party changes to reach more constituents without relinquishing the ideals they believe in is a difficult issue. One thing I would ask would be why are these staunch positions important? Is it because it has always been this way and the fear of losing status quo has caused this rigid perspective? Is it living within the privilege bubble that creates an ‘out of touch’ mentality? Is it the clinging to religious beliefs that brings about the republican platform? I do not have the answers but unfortunately, the right has some great fiscal/small government ideas that are getting overlooked because they just cannot connect with the ‘common man.’ I believe that there is not any one answer or any one political belief that will make the difference, it will take a conglomeration of both to avoid collapse…and things are not looking great at the moment.

Apathy Abounds

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2013-44 on

The Republican party's elected officials seem apathetic in spite of a public outcry against the current state of our nation. John Boehner, current Speaker of the House, has demonstrated an almost lethargic attitude toward his party's agenda. Until the Republicans mobilize and reinvigorate, they will remains unable to effectively determine the country's future. It is not so much the individual Republicans who maintain apathy as many of them retain their core values and behave in a politically active manner. Rather, it seems to be the elected officials of the party who are failing to represent their constituency.

Apathy Abounds

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2013-41 on

The issue is whether the Republican Party can convert Latinos and blacks and quite frankly I don't think they are willing to change their views enough to attract those who have been supporting the Democratic Party. Given their often offensive policies that have affected minorities negatively for years I don't think the Republican Party can make a come back. IF and I say IF they were to rearrange their policies and make them more friendly to minorities I feel most of them would see the party as phony and insincere and it would make matters worse. It seems as though they think they can trick people into supporting their views and I just don't see that being successful.

Republican Party Too Little Too Late.....

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2013-41 on

Well....I will start by saying that as far as the Republican Party is concerned I feel that their efforts are best labeled, 'too little too late.' Aside from being very conservative and the image they portray as being 'old fashioned' and unevolving I think that it would take a miracle for the Republican Party to gain any ground with minorities because of their policy and genuine lack of interest in anything except the preservation of their party, beliefs and policies. We do not live in a conservative world, with the younger generations becoming more acceptable of pretty much everything the extinction of the Republican Party is a real possibility as younger generations begin voting. In the past 4 years the Republican Party has showed that they are not concerned with issues that affect African Americans and Latinos. I do not think that Republicans can win over these votes, they have put their foot in their mouths too many times. The portion of this article that I found both humorous and offensive at the same time was the comment by the potential 2016 presidential candidate that spoke to students at Howard University. The use of Abraham Lincoln and efforts to rid the south of oppressive laws seems very demeaning to me. As if that is the only thing that African Americans care about. The policies and laws that Republicans have supported created increased oppression in society today. Playing on the "look at what we have done for you" card won't get then very far. I think the Democratic Party has made leaps and bounds in helping minorities including women, I don't think that is likely soon to be forgotten.

How do Politicians see people?

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2013-9 on

I have some trouble with this article, and conversations like this because I think that the Republican party wanting to change their views on things in order to sway voters is wrong. Don't get me wrong, I think people will and undoubtedly should change their opinions from time to time. But I do not think that creating a strategy to change some viewpoints only because it will get more people to vote for you is just. I think we will see a rise of politicians reach out to minority voters in the next few years. Do I think it is because they suddenly care about the minorities more than they had before? Not necessarily.
What I find interesting is that the Republican party would mention Abraham Lincoln as a person who they get their roots from. To me , this is blatant racism if talking to Black voters. This is assuming that people like Abraham Lincoln because they are Black. It seems like such a cliche thing to say, what would appeal to me personally is if they had mentioned people like Frederick Douglas, or someone that at least demonstrated that the RNP did some form of research or understanding of American history.
This is why I wonder if politicians see voters as anything other than, well, voters.


Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2013-30 on

I agree with a lot of the comments made already. To change views as a strategy to earn votes is dishonest and pretty slimy. I think both parties are flawed and I think it sad that real issues are not dealt with aggressively enough. The fact is that whites will be a minority and rather than running scared, Republicans and Democrats for that matter, should embrace the diverse American population and begin working on real issue. The health, safety, and well being of the people they are supposed to represent.

The only thing that stays the same is change

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2013-36 on

The country has changed a lot since the early days of the two party system as have both parties. I have seen people say that it is wrong for the Republican party to change just to get votes, but is that really a fair statement? After all, if the party as a whole, genuinely changed to meet the changes of the population they serve and, in the process, gain some votes, what is wrong with that? There is a saying that says "don't fix what ain't broke." Obviously, if they weren't experiencing a slump, they would not be having this conversation. Of course, the key word above is "genuinely." It absolutely WOULD be wrong for them to attempt to fool the voter into voting them in office only to change their platform (though some might argue that would not be a new political tactic), but I suspect if the change is drastic enough it would only work once anyway. All of that being said, if the Republican Party does not make some changes, they are likely to face more of what they experienced in 2008 and 2012.

Personally, I lean more toward a Libertarian stance and I wish more people would look beyond the traditional two candidates. If more of us looked outside the box so to speak, I think the minority parties might have a better chance of winning AND the American people might have a better chance of getting what they really want anyway. I have come to the point that I do not believe either of the two majority parties can lead this country as it needs to be led.

A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

Submitted by UCCS-S2013-11 on

I am sure that many of you know the story of the wolf who wore a sheep's hide so that he was able to trick the sheep into believing that he was one of them so that he could eat them. This is the image that this article conjured up in me. The Republicans have realized that in order to win more votes that they have to be able to relate better with the minorities of the country, but in my opinion they are going to have to do more than just relate, they need to make a genuine effort to understand what the majority of the country is dealing with. They need to make steps in assuring that all people are given a fair chance in life, and not just certain people.

Changes Within Dominant Groups

Submitted by UCCS-S2013-12 on

Interestingly, most groups do adapt and try to keep their views as in-group views compared to those labeled as outsiders. When reading this article, I thought of the recent changes within the Mormon church. I remember hearing how, a few years ago, the church spent ten million dollars to fight Prop 8, but after so much backlash from the public, the church has adopted a more inclusive ideology. Recently, I saw their monthly magazine, The Ensign, with a headline about accepting gay and lesbian members. The magazine had a picture of a white young woman with tattoes and a black woman. I grew up Mormon and did not see this inclusive, accepting attitude, personally. I appreciate when groups try to include the values of more people. Politics are truly tricky by nature, but I beleive including the values of others and making sure to treat them as they wish to be treated is always a positive step forward.

No hope for them

Submitted by UCCS-S2013-9 on

Republicans are seeing that they need to start changing their stance on certain issues or face losing power. I've seen three republicans on the news within the last month change their opinion to support gay marriage. I think we are going to start seeing this more and more.I also thought it was ignorant for Sen Paul to say that republicans backed Lincoln in the abolition against slavery. Slavery was just a side issue of the civil war - it was also about the industrialization and economics of the north and the southern slave labor hoarding workers that could have been promoting capitalism in factories. Not to be unsympathetic about the evils of slavery. Money was a huge factor promoting the abolition of slavery. Racism was still very powerful and still is today.As our minority population grows and our ethnic mix furthers to blend, Republicans need to change their oldschool attitude about the American people and who is important (i.e. not only white folks). You don't have to be a hardcore liberal to agree with that. The country was founded by white men with the economic interests of white men, under the disguise of "freedom for all". Time to start practicing what we preached 300 years ago.

Republicans changing stance on minorities new

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2013-31 on

I think that many Republicans will try to be more inclusive of the minority groups that they have ignored or marginalized in the past. I do not think that they will be successful in the attempts they make. Most people can tell when others are being sincere. Simply stating that you feel a certain way about an issue does not make it true. Unfortunately for the Republicans it will take a long time for them to shed their past image of being a party of rich white males.

We Want Change new

Submitted by UCCS-S2013-18 on

In one of our readings the Census Bureau estimated that by 2050 the minority will become the majority. People in politics do need to start taking this into consideration. In the past, presidents have been able to win by winning the white vote. This is no longer the case. As the demographics change, the needs of society change. As the minority population grows, they are going to be looking for candidates that are looking out for their best interest. I think that people in the minority community are beginning to realize that the plans that Republicans promote are not beneficial to them. This was apparent in the 2012 election. Romney was supporting a trickle down economy plan. No matter what he said, the people knew that this plan was only benefitting big corporations. By voting for Obama, the people showed the world that they are ready for change. If the Repulican party insists on maintaining the same platform, they should expect to face resistence. If they expect to win any kind of election, they are going to have to give a little.