Truth, Division, and the Republican Way

By Erin Drushel
Erin Drushel
Erin Drushel
It’s now 3 months since the Republican Party lost its second consecutive presidential election and instead of grasping the opportunity to unite as one party the divisions continue to exist. In the past few weeks alone we’ve seen different approaches to re-defining the GOP of the future.

A Novel Approach

During last week’s speech to the Republican National Committee in Charlotte, N.C.,Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana, took a rather refreshing – albeit blunt – approach to dealing with the issues his party faces: harsh honesty.

We’ve got to stop being the stupid party. It’s time for a new Republican Party that talks like adults.”

Sometimes you’ve just got to tell it like it is. But if you’re going to tell it like it is, you also need to pay attention to what you’re actually saying and not rehash the tired old ideas in the same speech.

Uninviting Guests?

Karl Rove, on the other hand, decided to start yet another super-PAC. Is this just an opportunity to throw more money at the problem or a chance to undermine the activist Tea Party? Mr. Rove, former advisor to President George W. Bush, established the Conservative Victory Fund in an attempt to ensure that more “electable” conservatives win their primaries by countering Tea Party backed organizations.

Could it be that the GOP establishment is having second thoughts about their relationship with the Tea Party? Initially this union seemed an opportunity to inject the party with some firey “patriotism” with the expectation that it would inspire the electorate to unite. Congratulations! It happened. But the majority came together against you… oops.

It was you who invited them in, legitimized their cause and then discovered you couldn’t control them. And now you want to be rid of them… good luck poking that bear.

A Gentler Narrative

And lastly, we heard from Eric Cantor (R-Va.), House Majority Leader, who shared the same old spiel at the American Enterprise Institute, but cast it in a different light by softening the rhetoric. Cantor’s speech had a more pleasing, people-oriented flow bringing back the Republican mantra of “good ole fashioned” principles and values. By choosing less dogmatic language and demonstrating that the GOP is capable of identifying with the American family they might find a more positive connection with the public.

However, none of these approaches actually deal with the fundamental issues the GOP is facing: demographics, brand-identity, and antiquated “values” to name a few. The bottom-line is that they need to get on the same page.

If they can do that, then the problem becomes “Will the people buy it?” If a new message comes from a broken brand that’s seen as power-hungry-say-anything-to-win, there may be some credibility issues.

Intriguing Thought

You know, there’s always the possibility that there is more than meets the eye to this scattered disarray of approaches.

Perhaps this is the GOP’s strategy. A three-pronged frontal assault of (1) frank honesty mixed with (2) a separation from the more fanatical views and (3) a softening of the dogmatic image through speech. Throw them all out there. Monitor the effects to see what resonates with the people with whom they’re trying to connect. Determine what works best. Then, Hello 2016!

…Nah. Seems a bit too destructive to be that strategic…

– Erin Drushel

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