For the GOP, Change is a must


Republicans mourning their loss at Romney’s HQ in Boston

Phil Reidy

Republicans mourning their loss at the Romney headquarters in Boston

Change. Hope. These words ring out in today’s political arena. Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008 was established on these words, and Mitt Romney offered Americans the promise of “Real Change”, a sleight at Obama’s apparently ineffective four years as president in bringing about any progress for the nation. Republicans, however, have failed to recognize the desperate need for change in their own party. Change, quite frankly, is the only hope for the GOP if they plan on running in 2016.

The Republican Party is an organization in decline. The America that Reagan and even George W. Bush presided over is not the America of 2012. This year’s election should demonstrate this as an indisputable fact. Incumbent Barack Obama organized an extremely successful grassroots campaign, mobilizing a growing African American and Latino population from the very beginning. The election of Wisconsin native Tammy Baldwin, an openly gay woman, to Senate this past election illustrates that things have changed and are changing, whether or not entrenched socially-conservative members of the GOP are willing to acknowledge it. History has shown that resisting change is a sure recipe for disaster. Unless the Grand Old becomes the brand new, Democratic candidates will continue to defeat Republicans in the primary in the same manner and margin as Barack Obama’s powerful victory this past November.

Social Issues

The GOP is notoriously out of touch with a changing face and feeling in this country. For some reason, the Republican party and its supporters have decided that social-conservatism and fiscal rationality are two ideologies that can be firmly interwoven in the party’s platform without contradicting each other at all. Fiscal rationality and strengthening the private sector have no relation to barring homosexuals from marriage or interfering with a woman’s ability to have control over her body. The party experienced in 2012 the degree to which members of their own party were disconnected from the people’s feelings, as well as just simply reality. Comments on rape from Todd Akin and others like it show a disturbing social backwardness that the GOP must identify and subsequently rid itself of. The Ann Coulters and Richard Mourdocks of the GOP are unattractive to a predominantly socially-liberal American populace, and continuing to prop these icons up as figureheads of the GOP’s stance on these issues is going to destroy the image of the party and diminish its chances in future elections. As mentioned before, the GOP took a huge blow in the form of a minority-voter turnout unseen in previous elections. Appealing to these minority voters will not be in the form of stricter immigration laws, nor is gathering minority voter support likely when the image that comes to mind when thinking about the GOP is wealthy and xenophobic white males. It must be a proponent of rational and fair immigration reform, like the sort proposed by Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida. Rubio calls for comprehensive immigration reform, and believes that the GOP should favor a reasonable and a less rigid immigration program. He said, “What we really need to be is the pro-legal immigration party.”

The Economy

Romney’s qualifications as a business man were certainly impressive, but his evaluation of 47% of Americans as “victims” was a major detriment to his campaign. The state of the economy is a complex problem, and the Rand-esque ideologies some within the GOP preach are no solution. This no-mercy philosophy of economics, reflected in Romney’s choice of words, is not attractive to the American people and is a non-realistic cure-all to the economic plunge our nation has taken since the Great Recession. Republicans should be concerned more with reviving job growth, not assuming that our most consistently impoverished areas and lost jobs are the result of laziness or irresponsibility. But this doesn’t mean just simply adding to a federal welfare system. Welfare has become a bloated system, unable to provide those who need it with a concrete solution to their financial troubles in the long run, and its rapid expansion as one of multiple entitlement programs is bleeding the federal government dry, bound to raise taxes in the future, and contributing to an extensive national debt. Republicans, proponents of the private sector, already have an advantage over Democrats in this particular field. By lowering taxes on businesses while slowly peeling back federal welfare programs and providing tax-benefits for businesses that hire, Republicans can realistically get Americans back to work, while avoiding the unattractive image displayed by some in the Party this past election. In regards to the national debt, Republicans have to realize that their support of expanding the military budget is as much to blame for the debt as is constantly expanding welfare programs. This leads to the next area in which the Republicans have to improve.

Foreign Policy

Many Republicans are concerned, as are many, with the security of the country. Barack Obama’s pointing out of how the definition of military strength has changed in the past  20 years was correct. Improving the armed forces with intelligence, not size, will put military funding where it needs to be and hopefully assuage the 16 trillion dollar debt. The United States must maintain a military force to protect itself and our trade interests abroad, and these fields and these fields alone are where we should devote our funds. But in all other aspects, the US should remain an undetected and precise hand in dealing with external threats. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars wasted lives and resources, and further intervention in foreign conflicts, as John McCain has called for in Syria’s civil war, will continue to drain the United States of her strength as a nation. The GOP should work with Democrats in not expanding our conventional armed forces, but rather strengthening our nation’s secret services and computer security -where our true national security threats lie in the modern day. Boots on the ground and aircraft carriers in the sea may provide the US with some mental comfort, but the true protection of this country’s people and power lies in our discreet and precise ability to detect and dispose of threats before they become a military conflict, like the Afghanistan War, where US soldiers have essentially occupied the country for the hazy purpose of stopping terrorism and nation-building. Our relations in the international community are just as important today as they’ve ever been. Republicans will also have to prove that they can maintain positive relations with foreign powers through diplomacy and trade.


The failure by the Republican party to claim victory in the 2012 election may have been due to their selection of Romney as a candidate. His background as a corporate magnate and a Mormon were certainly uncommon traits amongst average Americans. But the problem, I think, is a broader one, pertaining to the GOP itself. The Republicans will have to look at their 2012 defeat to learn and adapt. Fiscal conservatism is not a dead concept, nor is it a bad idea when some of the current national predicaments are unemployment and massive debt. Getting Americans back to work and financially strengthening the average citizen is what the people and what both parties should be chiefly concerned with. Harping on outdated views didn’t appeal to American voters this past election, and it certainly won’t appeal to them in 2016. Ultimately though, the function of our nation relies on the establishing of clear goals, and having the best chances of acquiring these goals will be a bi-partisan effort.