Massachusetts Daily Collegian

The future of the Republican Party

By Rocco Giordano

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These past months have been quite difficult on the Republican Party. After the landslide electoral re-election of President Barack Obama, as well as the liberal sweep of the battleground Senate races, many conservatives are left to wonder if the country will ever see a right-wing leader again. After all, wasn’t the poor economy, stagnant employment rate and high debt enough to end Obama’s presidency?

The answer, quite apparently, is no. Obama became the first since Franklin Roosevelt to be re-elected during such a gloomy economic state. The 2012 election was a sign of not only how the American electorate has changed, but also how the Republican Party has a long way to go if they ever want to put up a winning candidate again.

Back in 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama won the presidency in one of the most definitive landslides of modern-day politics. When looking back on the demographic makeup of the 2008 electorate, one can see that it was anything but ordinary. Take the youth vote for example; eligible voters ages 18-29 made up a shocking 18 percent of the electorate in 2008, a record turnout amongst that age group. Of those who voted, 66 percent of the youth voted for President Obama. While the GOP was counting on the youth support for Obama to fade due to the poor college graduate employment rates, history repeated itself. In fact, youth voting rates in 2012 were on par with the 2008 election, with 66 percent of the youth claiming that they “definitely were voting,” and President Obama capturing the group 59 percent to 36 percent, a 23-point advantage.

Though the youth vote certainly played a large role in Obama’s re-election, one could argue the minority vote was even more meaningful. While Mitt Romney managed to capture a large 59 percent of the white vote, minority groups overwhelmingly supported President Obama, according to Gallup. Amongst black voters, President Obama took 90 percent of the votes cast, compared to a mere 5 percent for Governor Romney. In terms of the Hispanic population, 69 percent voted for Obama while only 25 percent chose Romney. Another voting demographic defined as “nonwhite” saw 79 percent supporting Obama and only 15 percent supporting Romney. Women also largely sided with President Obama in the 2012 election cycle, supporting him 52 percent to 43 percent when compared to Romney.

The Democratic Party came out of 2012 with a healthy number of sweeping victories. Closely contested senate races in Connecticut and Massachusetts both ended in victories for Democrats. Elizabeth Warren won her seat over incumbent Scott Brown, who ran as an independent Republican in the largely blue state of Massachusetts. Likewise, candidate Linda McMahon was again defeated by Chris Murphy in the Connecticut Senate race, even after running as a pro-choice, female Republican with a solid background in financial matters. While it’s clear that the GOP is currently in a dire situation and in need of some major course correction, how it will try to move forward remains a mystery. As a self-identified Republican, I have a few small grievances with the party to express.

Let us start with something very basic; the party badly needs diversity. Although I personally put a great deal of hope into Mitt Romney as a candidate for president, the days of white men running the government are all but extinct. Out of all of the candidates in the running for the GOP nomination, only one was non-white, and he was eliminated relatively early based on a sex-scandal (not exactly Presidential material). While the American electorate used to be predominantly white, the nation has progressed beyond that. When Obama was elected in 2008, a new world of possibilities opened for minorities in politics, and that is a trend that the GOP cannot ignore. The GOP needs to get its act together and find ways to connect with the minorities of America, or face sure failure in the future.

The LGBTQ community is another significant minority group that the Republican Party has alienated. Surely there must be a large number of fiscally conservative homosexuals in America, but the stone-age policies of the conservatives scare them away from association in any form. While I recognize a large portion of conservatives oppose gay marriage on a religious basis, it is time for the party as a whole to embrace the separation of church and state. By opposing the legalization of gay marriage, the GOP is putting itself at a significant disadvantage by losing not only prospective homosexual voters, but a large portion of the youth as well.

The 2012 presidential election was a testament to the changing political tides in America. The GOP must realize that, in order to remain relevant, they will need to change their typical candidate’s image and their stone-age moral beliefs. Instead of re-grouping and readying the next run-of-the-mill candidate, the GOP must fundamentally evaluate and solidify its stances on sensitive social issues, including both gay marriage and abortion, and put out a candidate who can connect to individuals who are not wealthy, white or evangelical Americans. To learn more about the state of the GOP and how the party is adapting to new political tides, come see the University of Massachusetts Republican Club’s featured speaker Karl Rove in the Student Union ballroom on April 9, at 7:45 p.m.

Rocco Giordano is a Collegian contributor. He can be reached at [email protected]

4 Comments

4 Responses to “The future of the Republican Party”

  1. Caitlin on March 27th, 2013 12:47 pm

    Firstly, thank you for being one of the most sensible Republicans I have ever read an article by. Although I self-identify as an Independent, I have yet to cast a vote for any Republican candidate because of all of the factors that you have spoken about.
    Second, I think you have left out two very important factors. First, women. Where are the women in the Republican party? Barely there since many Republicans cast very anti-woman votes in Congress very frequently (can you say VAWA?). Second, welfare. Many Republicans view welfare as something unnecessary, that the only people who use it are not deserving of the aid and are simply mooching off of the government. That idea has to go, or else there will probably be little to no change in minority group voting. Society needs a safety net, and the government (which, I believe, should function to protect the people) is obligated to provide it.

  2. David Hunt 1990 on March 27th, 2013 3:34 pm

    In other words, become Democrat-lite.

    Except that voters wanting Leftism will choose the “real thing” every time.

    Tell me – if 90% of whites voted for the white candidate, wouldn’t that be proof of racism? Then why is 90% of blacks voting for Obama not proof of it?

  3. Rocco Giordano on March 27th, 2013 9:27 pm

    Thanks so much Caitlin for the kind words. Obviously there are a couple more issues I have with the modern state of the GOP but Op/Ed articles have to abide by a word limit (to keep me from ranting probably). I do agree that women are somewhat turned off by the policies of the Republican Party, and of course I believe there has to be a safety net for society, I just personally believe we need to invest in those programs in a more stable, sustainable and responsible way. I would never advocate for complete removal or even near-complete removal of welfare, but I do believe it needs to be re-structured and it needs to be monitored in a more responsible fashion. Thanks for the comments!

  4. Sam on April 3rd, 2013 2:07 pm

    I think it’s hard to get a clear eyed view of the state of the Republican party at a university in the middle of the most liberal region of the U.S. I used to think the Republican party was in dire straits, but have since moderated my views. Don’t get me wrong: the Republican party certainly isn’t doing well, and it has some issues to address before it has a realistic shot at capturing the white house. But keep in mind that the Republican party in the House of Reps. has been incredibly successful, with 32 more seats than the Democrats. In states, Republicans are doing even better. Republicans have more seats in state legislatures than Democrats do, and a whopping 60% of governors are republican.
    .
    If I had to pick one problem the party should focus on, I would say it should get better at vetting more disciplined, professional, mainstream candidates for senate races and the presidential race. For senate races, this includes focusing resources on supporting mainstream candidates in primaries, to ensure some radical tea party candidate with no chance of winning the senate seat doesn’t get the nomination. For the race to the white house, the Republican party should (and is planning to) shorten the primary race and hold fewer debates. That way you don’t have candidates pushing each other further and further to the right.

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