by Clarence Page
Here we go again. Whenever I try to offer a little helpful advice to Republican leaders, I have grown accustomed to hearing from some cranky conservative or two who blow me off, saying they're "not about to take advice from a liberal like you" -- or words to that effect.
To which I am inclined to respond like the Jedi Master Yoda in "Star Wars": "That is why you fail."
After losing the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections, the
You could hear that message as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a rising national political star, told the
He also called for fewer "stupid and bizarre" comments. I presume he was talking about such gaffes as failed
By now, no one should have to urge Republicans to reach out to Hispanics and other minorities. Mitt Romney's election night surprise makes the case.
He won non-Hispanic white voters, no problem. But he lost other major demographic groups. Had he only kept the same 42 percent of the Hispanic vote that President George W. Bush won eight years earlier, for example, Romney's campaign could have set off his victory fireworks in Boston. Instead, he won only 29 percent and, according to reports, had to hastily cobble together a concession speech he had not expected to give.
With the looming possibility of permanent minority status, Republicans face a dilemma: How do they expand their base without alienating the hard-core, change-resistant conservatives who already are in it?
I think they can take valuable lessons from two examples. One is the
After two losses to Obama, maybe it's time for Republican moderates to reassert themselves and tell their right-wing base that, hey, the political center may not be sexy but it's better than oblivion.
My other example comes from Republicans at the state and local level who have succeeded in winning big support from blacks and Hispanics the old-fashioned way, by finding out what the voters want and helping them to get it.
"The best approach for Republicans to take is not through identity politics," Bob Woodson, founding head of the
Woodson offered as examples of racial-ethnic crossover success former Los Angeles Mayor Richard J. Riordan, former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
Years before he ran for mayor, Riordan, a successful businessman, had deep community involvement that included purchasing a new building and raising funds for
Goldsmith worked with local minority communities to make Indianapolis a national model for market-driven urban redevelopment during his two terms in the 1990s. Huckabee's minority outreach was so successful that he was re-elected with 48 percent of the black vote.
"Seek a relationship that can blossom into a partnership," Woodson advised. "You can't just be strongly against something. You must give a vision of what it is possible to accomplish through conservative means."
Could such a relationship produce a new rising national
Can the GOP Escape Its Bubble | Politics