Two major conclusions were reached. The first was that the GOP desperately needs to attract more minority voters, female voters, and young voters. This issue comes as no surprise, of course, and was widely discussed throughout the the 2012 campaign season. But this report surely marks the first time Republicans are officially, publically telling other Republicans, "This problem is real, this problem is important, and this problem must be fixed immediately."
The second major conclusion outlined in this report is that Republicans must get better at messaging. The party lags behind in its use of digital communication, social media, data analytics, targeted marketing, and other ultra-modern campaign tactics. This conclusion will also come as no surprise to anyone watching the 2012 election unfold, but again, hats off to the party for picking apart what happened and sharing it - not just as an internal memo - but as a public report.
Here is why identifying these two major areas of concern and even developing action plans to address them, as the report also does, will do absolutely nothing to save the Republican Party from continuing to fail on the national level. It is clear from reading the report carefully, that they believe by fixing the second problem, they will have fixed the first as well.
Their anxiety about reaching other constituencies, or shall we say, Constituencies of Others, is palpable. To be sure, they want those votes. But their problem-solving, their ideas for solutions, have absolutely nothing to do with policy. There is not a trace of evidence that any time was spent examining why the GOP has alienated entire groups of Americans. Instead there is one lament after another about how Republicans are perceived, whether they are trusted and believed, whether they are thought sincere and welcoming, and how they can begin to do a better job to show that they "care."
In two places it's clear the authors of the report where simply unable to hide the obvious in their conclusions. They acknowledge that Republicans will surely lose the vote of the "Hispanic" (<the report's word of choice - I don't know, you tell me) community if they don't embrace "comprehensive immigration reform. And they explain that their findings reveal that for some young voters, "the treatment and the rights of gays" can determine whether they want to be a member of a certain party.
Not to worry; within hours of the the release of the report, one of its authors, Sally Bradshaw, made clear that the report doesn't specify anywhere that comprehensive immigration reform includes a pathway to citizenship. And her colleague
In response to the report, prominent members of the Party spoke out today, saying they sure do understand what the report tells them, and yup, they've just got to get better at reaching out to those women, and those communities of color. But as soon as they say the words "reach out" they accidentally flip to the "messaging" piece, and conflate them completely. Outreach is apparently about saying the same off-putting things, but saying them better.
The theory seems to be that their platform is actually very welcoming to minorities and youth, but it just didn't get out during the last campaign season. They believe they just didn't use the right methods to communicate that the GOP "embraces civil rights" for poor people, black people, Latinos, women and younger voters.
But, no. Their message got out there all right. It got out too well.
Women heard loud and clear that the uterus should fall under the control of the "small government party."
Young people, the least homophobic demographic in the country, heard loud and clear that the civil procedure used by local government entities to certify marriage should fall under the control of "the party of liberty and the constitution," and should be defined by religious principles.
Latinos heard loud and clear, from the Republican that the Party had nominated for President, that the Party considered "self-deportation" a legitimate approach to immigration reform.
And black voters? If black voters had any doubts about their status in the eyes of Republicans, they didn't need to look any further than the massive, hostile, naked efforts to disenchfranchise them by use of regressive voting policies. It is a matter of record, of hard numbers, that black Americans are vastly, disproportionately affected by restrictive voter registration drives, cutting early voting hours, and requiring voters to obtain a strictly-defined, government-issued photo ID, in order to cast a ballot.
Coming out of their reading of this report, Republican Party officials have pledged to spend $10 million on an effort to to reach out to minority communities and portray "a more welcoming message." They plan to update their digital capacities, and use social media more. Said the Republican Party head, Reince Priebus, “The way we communicate our principles isn't resonating widely enough."
Reince, Reince. It's not the WAY you are communicating the principles, it's the principles!
The report itself puts strong emphasis on gay rights as a factor for young voters.
Perhaps the ten million dollars they have put aside for outreach should not go to young, female, and minority voters. Perhaps it would be better spent educating their own party.
They could teach Republican citizens about the difference between their personal views and public policy.
They could remind Republicans in Congress about constitutional rights to privacy and equal protection.
They could spell out more clearly to Party leaders that marriage is actually a civil certification, caried out under the auspices of local governments. It can then be celebrated with a wedding, or not, in whatever way the couple chooses.
They could inform Republicans across the land that voter impersonation is not a viable threat to democracy, but voter repression is. That even the bipartisan Help America Vote Act, proudly signed into law by George W. Bush, recommends that states allow voters to ID themselves at polling places with a wide variety of more readily available forms of ID, including work badges, medical cards, and current utility bills.
And they could ask their Republican state officials to knock it off with the forced ultrasounds.
Then that 10 mil might start getting them somewhere.