The GOP Tries to Regroup

After a licking in the polls, the Republican Party seeks to find itself

enact laws that reduce how much government spends and voters are taxed. We learned that we’ve not stood firmly enough on those principles and have not articulated their relevance to current issues as we should have.”

But Cain says that when Democrats were thinking along similar lines four years ago, Republicans said they were kidding themselves. “Crafting your message is part of it, but in the end they got thrown out of office because the policies they pursued weren’t working,” he says. Cain believes that the GOP chose ideology over pragmatism and is now paying for it. The party might look to governors successfully leading such states as Minnesota, Louisiana, and Florida who have taken a more pragmatic approach.

As Democrats in this year’s election expanded its electoral base across the nation, and swept up the majority of support from both African Americans and Latinos, who once were faithful Republican voters, the Republican base has shrunken to a coalition of voters in the Deep South and the Great Plains. Doan describes President-elect Obama’s outreach from the grassroots to the Internet as genius. Republicans, she says, weren’t willing to do the extra work necessary to expand its base.

“What’s certainly clear to me is that the Republican Party has no future as an all white party. They got 6% or 7% of the black vote, less than a third of the Latino vote and not a majority of any other group defined by people of color,” says DePaul University political scientist Michael Mezey. “They’re going to have to find a way to incorporating and bringing in a larger segment of the population: younger people, people of color, women, people who are increasingly Democratic. That, or root for the continuation of economic disaster.”

Black Republicans aren’t giving up on their party and argue that there’s room under the GOP tent for everyone. “We are extremely important to the party and always have been.  I don’t think we do enough outreach, grassroots, for example, but as we saw in this last election, people of color are very important.  We will play all different roles, having a seat at the table to make important decisions about where the party is, where we’re going to go and how we’re going to get there so that we’re all on the same page,” says Renee Amoore, president and CEO of the Amoore Group Inc.

Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, an African American, has announced today that he intends to run for RNC chair. In an interview with the Washington Post, he said, “I know firsthand the RNC must truly be run as a federation of state parties in order to be effective. I believe the leadership of our party must come from its grass roots, because the members of the RNC are the best representation of what direction our party needs to take.”

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