And So the Rebuilding Begins…
I was going to blog about this sooner, but it looks like there is already an effort among Republicans to retool and renovate the GOP. Called “Rebuild the Party,” it’s a group of young conservatives under the age of 40. In many ways, they have learned from the Obama campaign and are using technology to help in finding ways to modernize the party.
Here are a few words from the homepage:
As Republicans, we face a choice.
Either we can spend the next several months — or years — trying to figure out what just happened, excusing our defeat away as a temporary blip or the result of a poor environment, and waiting for Barack Obama to trip up. Or we can refuse to take this defeat lying down, and start building the future of our party now.
2008 made one thing clear: if allowed to go unchecked, the Democrats’ structural advantages, including their use of the Internet, their more than 2-to-1 advantage with young voters, their discovery of a better grassroots model — will be as big a threat to the future of the GOP as the toxic political environment we have faced the last few years.
The time is now to set in motion the changes needed to rebuild our party from the grassroots up, modernize the way we run campaigns, and attract different, energetic, and younger candidates at all levels.
We must be conservative in philosophy — but bold in our approach. We don’t need a slight tweak here or there. We need transformation. We can’t keep fighting a 21st century war with 20th century weapons.
This is a document about bringing the Republican Party into the future — and it isn’t just about strategies and tactics.
They also seem to be saying it’s fruitless to look for another Reagan:
Revitalizing the party will have much to do with how we talk about issues and standing on principle. And, above all, it will require leadership.
At the same time, waiting for a political savior to materialize out of thin air is not an option. Eventually, strong new leaders will emerge. And when they do, they must inherit a party stronger than the one in its current state. Our grassroots must be stronger and more open. We must inspire young leaders to want to run for office as Republicans.
There are several ideas afoot, but there is one that makes the most sense and it basically copies what the Democrats did in 2006 and 2008:
By 2012, the Republican Party will field candidates in all 435 Congressional districts in America, from inner city Philadelphia to suburban Dallas, and our leaders must be held accountable for progress towards this goal. With an 80 plus vote margin separating Democrats from Republicans in the House, it’s time to widen the playing field, not narrow it. While our targeting has gotten narrower, honing in on a class of seats we feel entitled to because they lean Republican, Democrats have been stealing traditionally 60-40 Republican seats right and left. It’s time to return the favor.
What’s more, it won’t be good enough to run perfunctory races in safe seats. 2008 showed us that every seat — Republican or Democrat — is potentially a target. If you aren’t seriously challenged this time, chances are you’ll be challenged the next time, or the time after that. Incumbents who don’t prepare for this reality will find themselves scrambling to catch up when the inevitable happens. That means that our party needs to set a new standard that campaigns will be professional and fully staffed in each and every seat.
That’s a good strategy, but that will also mean that they have to make some accommodations on social issues due to location. The Dems ran candidates that were more conservative in areas that leaned more Republican. If this group wants to run candidates everywhere, especially in districts that lean Democrat, then they need to run candidates that are pro-choice and pro-gay rights to have a shot. Here in Minneapolis, the GOP seems to always run people who are socially conservative in a district that is not even close to that.
All in all, Rebuild the Party has a good idea and is not just a flash in the pan. It’s headed up by Patrick Ruffini, a GOP operative and seems to be pretty diverse, with people across the GOP political spectrum. They have also added a tool where people can suggest ways the GOP can change and also vote on those issues.
I don’t know if this has a chance, but who knows? If you know of someone who is a conservative and under 40, you might want to pass this along to them.