Republican Party

RNC Wants GOP to Stop Pissing Off Gays, Immigrants, Young People

Party leaders call for more "tolerance," though report is more about messaging and tactics than positions

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Elephants can be cuddly, you know!
GOP.com

The Republican National Committee has a new report out today, the findings of the party's Growth and Opportunity Project. The project was a byproduct of Mitt Romney's failure at the polls and featured surveys, focus groups and more than 800 conference calls! (I'm not being sarcastic about the conference calls – they're the ones who highlight it in the report.)

NBC News described the report as "audacious" in its efforts to revitalize the party. I wouldn't exactly go that far, though the report is refreshingly blunt about how the party is viewed by non-members:

Public perception of the Party is at record lows. Young voters are increasingly rolling their eyes at what the Party represents, and many minorities wrongly think that Republicans do not like them or want them in the country. When someone rolls their eyes at us, they are not likely to open their ears to us.

What is new is that the report acknowledges that the party's position and attitudes toward gays is losing young people.  Preserving "traditional marriage" was the first item in the "American Values" section of the Republican Party's 2012 platform. Efforts to amend the platform to show support for civil unions failed. From the report:

For the GOP to appeal to younger voters, we do not have to agree on every issue, but we do need to make sure young people do not see the Party as totally intolerant of alternative points of view. Already, there is a generational difference within the conservative movement about issues involving the treatment and the rights of gays — and for many younger voters, these issues are a gateway into whether the Party is a place they want to be.

The generational divide was on full display at CPAC last week. Note, though, how the report doesn't actually call for the party to change its position. Just being more "tolerant" of other views doesn't really seem like it's going to get the party much of anywhere with young voters. If the party's platform is still hostile to these issues, then that's exactly what people will focus on.

As for the sections on immigration and women: It seems like even the RNC has forgotten its own 2012 convention. Much of the advice here to be more inclusive of minorities and women was on full display at the convention, for all the good it did them. The report acknowledges that the party must tackle its reputation with ethnic minorities and "champion comprehensive immigration reform," but this is not a policy paper and the most important question – What that immigration reform should look like – goes unanswered.

This isn't to downplay the report. That this kind of messaging is coming directly from the Republican National Committee is important. Fundamentally, though, the only component of the report that actually feels new is its ability to mention the existence of gays without immediately retreating into "traditional marriage" talk.

Below, read the full report:

Growth Opportunity Project by Republican National Committee