Well, it’s clear there is a fundamental problem with the Republican Party. I think Stephen Colbert best summed it up when he said, “Now, Ike was a moderate Republican. For our younger audience, what are those?” The Republican Party has lost its way. It’s chosen to use its radical wing as the foundation of its party. This radical tone has found its way into Congress and during the 2012 elections. For the Republicans to be a viable option again, they need to abandon the radical elements and fight back for the center of the spectrum. I’ve listed three simple ways they can improve their image. 1. The Republicans should seek a broader inclusive strategy. A major obstacle to their electoral viability is a set of radical positions they have taken on social legislation. How many outrageous comments did we hear on abortion this election? These comments went beyond the pro-choice/pro-life divide. Republicans need to start talking about these issues in a different tone. They need to be personal beliefs, not policy beliefs. For, by arguing in favor of legislation to limit personal behavior, you are essentially forcing personal views on all of society, whether or not they agree with you. Of course, values are important, and should guide how a person acts in his or her own life. But, it should remain as just that—a personal issue. In Canada, the Conservatives have decided to accept the same-sex marriage law in our country. I’m sure some of them disagree with the law, and that is their right, but they know our society has moved on. They realize that these views are no longer in stride with the broader Canadian value system. To put this in a cold, political strategy as well: It’s simply bad politics. It’s just another wedge issue to divide the electorate and to consolidate the voters against you. Allowing people to do what they want to do is a matter of liberty, an idea this country was founded on.
2. Another suggestion is to follow a more moderate economic policy. Republicans can and should (as this is the basis of their party) promote lower taxes and a different economic agenda. But there are limits. Republicans wanted cuts in the federal budget and they can argue that. But, as what happened last year, to hold the country in limbo with the debt ceiling debacle is counterproductive. Those measures are traditionally bipartisan actions. They should have accepted the debt ceiling raise and then argued their position on lower spending in consultation with the Democrats. There’s no need for theatrics. They should also seek to fix certain programs, not abandon them altogether.
3. This brings me to my final suggestion. Republicans need to cooperate in government or they will find themselves relegated to the political sidelines. They can’t simply oppose all government action. Things need to get done. It’s better to discuss issues and policies with your opposition. There should be some give and take. That’s what politics is. It’s the consensus of differing points of view. It will not only allow Republicans to have concrete policy implementations, but will show the American electorate that Republicans can work with the other side. This is especially necessary now since they will not be facing President Obama again in 2016. They need to show themselves as a party willing to help and fix legislation, not to stand on the sidelines denouncing everything.
The American system requires cooperation from both sides. One party can’t rule alone. It’s better for the United States to know all representatives are working cooperatively to ensure a consensus. Without consensus, and without moderation, the United States will continue to feel divided and bitter. It can be fixed. I’m not telling the Republican Party to give up its fundamental beliefs. That is a distinction that a two-party system needs. But, by simply tailoring their policies and bringing moderation back, they might find more electoral success.
BY MICHAEL SCOTT firstname.lastname@example.org
drawing created by Vince_Lamb, found on flickr