Americas

Wednesday 23 July 2014

We're scary and need reform, say Republicans

Peter Foster Washington

Published 19/03/2013|04:00

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THE US Republican Party is "scary, narrow-minded, run by stuffy old men" and requires root-and-branch reforms to have any chance of winning power in 2016, according to a major report.

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A 100-page "autopsy" into the drubbing Republicans received at the hands of US President Barack Obama's coalition of minorities, women and young people during the 2012 general election called for a series of reforms to make the party more appealing to modern America.

"There's no one reason we lost," Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee said, announcing the 219 recommendations.

"Our message was weak; our ground game was insufficient; we weren't inclusive; we were behind in both data and digital; our primary and debate process needed improvement. So, there's no one solution: there's a long list of them."

The inquest pointed the finger of blame at the insurgent grassroots – the Tea Party and mainly white rural, religious conservatives – for creating an atmosphere of intolerance towards minorities, women and the more liberal younger voters.

"We do need to make sure young people do not see the party as totally intolerant of alternative points of view," the report states.

As the party debates the need for immigration reform, the report warned that Republicans could not ignore that more than four-fifths of ethnic minorities voted Democrat.

"If Hispanic Americans hear that the GOP doesn't want them in the United States, they won't pay attention to our next sentence," it said.

Aside from immigration reform, the report was light on policy specifics, but urged a greater focus on helping the middle classes, rather than getting hung up on "hot button" issues such as gay marriage and abortion.

Relevant

The report will dismay many of the traditionalists, who argue that the party must stick to its core values, rather than attempt to become a poor imitation of Mr Obama's inclusive, middle-of-the-road agenda.

The core Republican values – self-reliance, small government, vigorous economics – would be made relevant through a compelling candidate not by cosmetic adjustments, Jeffrey Lord, a former Reagan aide and Republican historian, said.

"Mitt Romney was a moderate, and it didn't work," he said. "This is put together by establishment Republicans who don't understand the grassroots and effectively want to nationalise the party." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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