In the ongoing saga of GOP election post mortems, the College Republicans (CRs) found that people think of the Grand Old Party as "closed-minded, racist, rigid, and old-fashioned." Well, Buzz and I didn't need a focus group to come to the same conclusion.
See the full report.
To many people, particularly voters under 30, The Simpsons character Montgomery Burns has come to symbolize the GOP. It has become a party that will protect the interests of the privileged until its dying breath, which might be that long off in Presidential elections if they continue on the same path. The CRs said the GOP is perceived as the party that will pat you on the back when you succeed, but won't help you get there.
And just as Mr. Burns lacks empathy and the self awareness to see how anyone could view the world differently, so does the modern Republican Party. Karl Rove's meltdown on election night when the FOX News number crunchers called Ohio for President Barack Obama is a perfect example of the bubble in which much of the GOP lives.
Obama Derangement Syndrome
Many in the GOP suffer from Obama Derangement Syndrome (ODS). ODS is the affliction which causes one to believe that everyone hates Obama and everything Obama does is evil. This is the affliction that caused many GOPers to convince themselves, that despite all the independent polling which showed Obama ahead in almost every battleground state, that Romney would, as GOP guru Dick Morris predicted, gather more than 300 electoral votes and cruise to victory in 2012. Well, for those who still didn't get the news, Obama won quite convincingly. And, believe it or not, the polls were right.
It is not surprising that many in the GOP believed Romney would win, and win big. After all, many in the GOP are enveloped in a world which feeds into their ODS. There are two main ways the GOPers remain in this bubble. They only associate with people who hold Obama in disdain, thereby reinforcing the belief that "everybody hates Obama," and they get their information solely from the propaganda wings of the GOP (talk radio and FOX News.)
GOP positions on social issues out of touch with younger voters
The GOP has also taken positions on particular social issues which turn young voters off. The GOP is totally opposed to same sex marriage, whereas most recent polling shows over 70 percent of voters under 30 support gay marriage. The GOP is also radically pro-life, calling for a constitutional amendment to ban all abortions, whereas only about 20 to 25 percent of voters under 30 agree with that position.
Another issue which the GOP totally missed the boat with young voters is Obamacare. One of the first facets of Obamacare to be implemented was the ability of parents to keep their children on their health insurance policies until they are 26 years old. The Republicans, instead of embracing this popular part of the program have voted 37 times in the House to repeal Obamacare.
The conclusion of the report is to slightly tweak the GOP positions to take the harshness away from them. For example to "focus on the economic issues that affect young people today: education,
the cost of health care, unemployment," but does not say to embrace
Obamacare. The report says, "Don’t concede 'caring' and 'open-minded' to the
left," but does not call for the outright backing of gay marriage.
The report also stresses the importance of contacting young voters where they are, to go seek them out to get the GOP message across. This could work rather well if the GOP were "selling" something young people wanted to buy. The problem is they are not. It's not the message medium, it's the message.
One issue near and dear to Buzz's heart is the legalization of marijuana, but the College GOP don't even mention it. This is an issue which the GOP could really make some headway, no pun intended. Grab onto the legalization issue and make it a freedom and fiscal issue.
They can make it an individual liberty issue, without sacrificing any principles, the "get the government out of our lives" mantra. It also becomes a fiscal issue, because instead of spending money on cops, courts, prisons, and more guards, money can be raised by taxing it. (On the taxing side, this is where Buzz would join Grover Norquist.)
To quote Bob Dylan, "the times they are a changin'," and if the GOP doesn't change, it will become increasingly more irrelevant.
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