Step 2: Go Outside Your Comfort Zone
Prescription: Engage nontraditional GOP voters (especially minorities and young people).
Progress: B- … Rand Paul, the senator from Kentucky, told us that Republicans need to be going into urban communities and pitching their ideas, despite knowing those efforts won’t pay off immediately. Paul has been a leader in this regard, speaking at black colleges and far-left campuses, as well as opening an RNC office in Detroit. Additionally, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has been touring cities to promote school choice. But too few Republicans are following their lead. Others, such as Rep. Paul Ryan, have made commendable efforts. But Ryan’s “inarticulate” comments about the work ethic among black men showed why some Republicans are reticent to engage new voting blocs.
Step 3: Speak Their Language
Prescription: Present a softer message, and smarter policy solutions, to the Hispanic community.
Progress: D+ … This was priority No. 1 among most Republicans after Romney won just 27 percent of Hispanics in 2012. Party leaders called for Republicans to tone down their immigration rhetoric, and moreover, offer policy solutions beyond “self-deportation.” Efforts on both fronts have been inconsistent. Senate Republicans, including Marco Rubio, helped craft a comprehensive bill that would create a path to legalization for many undocumented immigrants. But House Republicans balked, insisting that borders must be demonstrably secure before legalization is discussed. That policy inertia is unhelpful but not fatal; what’s more damaging is commentary, like that from Rep. Steve King about “calves the size of cantaloupes,” that continues to paint Republicans as cold and uncaring about Hispanic voters.