The Republicans need an idea renaissance to carry our fight forward. We also need to recognize what ideas and issues to avoid. Are we going to spend 2014 and 2016 debating social issues, like same-sex-marriage bans, that are rapidly losing public support? Are we going to define our party by retrograde ideas that most people oppose? The Democrats would like nothing better. Wounded and cornered, they’ll soon try to pick abortion and gay-rights fights in Congress to shift the political debate away from Obamacare. Our choice is simple: Do we walk into their trap?
We have to face up to demographic reality. That means moving the party dial away from AM talk radio and toward the occasional salsa beat. The numbers are clear: without real immigration reform–tougher borders and an earned path to citizenship–it will be very hard for the GOP to win the White House in 2016. We need a modernized conservatism that can persuade the changing America in which we live to let us govern.
Finally, political tactics are important, and we need to get a lot more creative.
Ronald Reagan launched his campaign to make America great again in Detroit in 1980. Let’s go back to the Motor City and hold our 2016 national nomination convention in Detroit. What didn’t work in Detroit was decades of big Democratic government fueled by public-employee unions. What is working now is a comeback in the central city fueled by young entrepreneurs and free enterprise. Detroit is going to be a comeback story, and it will be done on GOP principles. What better place to show the country that we offer a way forward with room for everyone?