February 14, 2016

Soul searching by the GOP

The Republican Party needs to modernize itself and find new ways to reach out to voters. That’s the finding of an internal Republican National Committee report analyzing why the GOP fell short during the 2012 presidential election.

UW-Madison political scientist Barry Burden says it’s not uncommon for parties to do soul-searching like this after losing a major election. Although, he says it could be a mistake to focus so heavily on the shortcomings of the party’s organizational plan, while offering few suggestions about how to deal with ideological differences within the GOP.

AUDIO: Barry Burden (:16)

The report calls for the RNC to create a more welcoming brand of conservatism that does not exclude people just because they disagree on the issues. It offers few details though on how to address that, other than calling for the party to rebrand itself. Burden says that’s a gamble, since being wrong about the reasons why the party fell short last November means any change in strategy is not going to deal with the long term problem of building support for candidates.

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