After the 2012 round of elections, it is clear the Republican Party is in dire need of reconstruction.
The party has been held captive by its ultra-conservative right wing for too long, and it has cost them. Strong social conservatives must cede ground on their positions if they ever wish to elect another Republican president.
Staunch pro-lifers on the right must shift their platform to the left, mimicking the “safe, legal and rare” stance he discussed in his 1996 speech to the Democratic National Convention. Without this shift, Republicans will never close the gender gap, and it will most likely continue to grow. They do not have to adopt liberal positions in the Sandra Fluke free birth control sense, but a shift toward the people is required. Women are a majority in this nation and, without them, Republicans will not win.
The GOP must also devise a plan of action to send a meaningful message to Hispanic voters. President Obama carried 70 percent of this rapidly growing demographic in his reelection bid. Hispanics are traditionally Catholic and often have strong stances on social issues; however, it is most important to them that they become citizens of this nation. Republicans need to offer amnesty and a quick route to citizenship illegal immigrants who contribute to our economy and have families here.
Furthermore, we should recruit top talent from foreign nations to come utilize our great system of higher education (no thanks to our public education system). Make the path to citizenship attainable. Sell this to the political right as a way to broaden the tax base in an effort to keep rates as low as possible.
The Republican Party has become negatively associated as the party of the ultra-rich, its sole purpose to protect big business and keep taxes low on the dreaded one percent.
It has become apparent during the most recent election that they need to cede something here. Republicans should work with Democrats across the aisle on a comprehensive tax reform to eliminate frivolous deductions and loopholes. In exchange for their cooperation on tax reform, they may receive welfare reform from the left. This would be a tremendous showing of bipartisanship in a political environment that has become hyper-polarized. Closing loopholes would effectively increase revenue without increasing marginal tax rates. The capital gains tax could remain the same, all while reducing spending with welfare reform. Forget parties — that is a win for America.
Foreign policy is an issue the GOP may not need to move on. The idea of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East should scare any American. If the major oil producers in this world were to enter nuclear war, the economic fallout would be disastrous for the global economy and make the current situations in Greece, Spain, France and here look pleasant. We have an obligation to support the interests of Israel as they represent the only true democracy in the Middle East.
The GOP is not an extinct political party because of its most recent lost. President Barack Obama had on his side the power of incumbency, which carries serious weight in any reelection effort. However, I do argue the party should look to its right and tell the Tea Partiers it will no longer be held captive by their social interests. Republicans must reach out to women and Hispanics in addition to traditional independents.
The opportunity exists for the GOP to become a party that unites the country and eases partisan tensions if only it will take it. And that would do wonders for the Grand Old Party.
— Ryan Brown is a junior from Winston majoring in political science