You are on page 1of 13

Real Growth & Missed-Opportunities Project

One month ago, the Republican National Committee released their ideas on the steps the GOP needed to take in order to grow the party. They had some good ideas but others concerned me. So, I decided to make my own plan. I consulted activists across the country, but most importantly I reached out to those who are not active at allthe people we need to engage. I read the entireyes, all 100 pagesof the RNCs plan. What originally started out as just my personal notes grew into all of this. I did not make this for myself but rather to voice the concerns of people from all types of backgrounds. My plan is different. I try to offer up real solutions to the criticisms of the Republican Party. At times I might be very critical of Republicans, but this is only to ensure that we learn from our past mistakes in order to improve in future elections. Hopefully people will realize that there are logical solutions to the GOPs problems that do not require rewriting our beliefs. Enjoy,

Spencer Finch Twitter: @spencerfinchgop Disclaimer: This research is my sole opinion and does not in any way reflect the views of the Republican Party, sources cited, or people interviewed. Some ideas and criticisms originate from outside sources. Opinions are my own.

Real Growth & Missed-Opportunities Project

On April 23, 1985, Coca-Cola Co. announced a huge change to their brand. They actually completely changed their entire product creating New Coke. Coca-Cola was finding it difficult to compete with the newer and cooler Pepsi, but changing the core ingredients of coke did not help this problem. Actually, many consider it the biggest marketing mistake in history. Why were people so upset? They just changed their ingredients to try and attract more costumers to keep up with the timeswhats wrong with that? Coca-Cola later realized that their product was timeless and could not just be changed; they quickly switched back to their original formula to avoid the huge fallback. Sound a little familiar? I am hoping this can serve as the GOPs realization of our timeless message. Conservatives were not necessarily jumping up and down at the release of the Growth and Opportunity Project because no one wants to change our message. The post-election media, while digging the Republican Partys grave, claimed that the GOP had to change their message to keep up with the times. This is not the case. Flip-flopping on issues is not going to attract more voters. No one wants a new product, and definitely no one wants a more watered-down product (Do you like watered-down coke?). If the choice is between Democrats and a watered-down moderate Republican, the people will pick Democrats. Believe it or not, voters actually like it when people stand on their beliefs. We have to realize that there will always be people who will not agree with us, so why change our message for them? Republicans need to present a real alternative to the Democratic Party. Our problem is not our message but our messaging. Somehow the Republican message has been lost in translation. We are the party of freedom, liberty, and choice. However, we have been labeled as the party of rules. When it comes to talking about our beliefs we sound like parents or teachers. We need to sound like people. No one wants to be lectured on why an issue is right. Show them it is right. Unlike Democrats, we have an advantage in that our principles have been triedand more importantly work. Our principles are not new but this does not make them un-relatable or outdated. Many of our ideas started with the founding fathers themselves. Another branding problem we face is that we have been labeled as anti

Real Growth & Missed-Opportunities Project

everything: anti-gay marriage, anti-abortion, anti-government, anti-gun laws, etc. Instead we need to be the party in support of our beliefsnot the party against the opposing beliefs. We are pro-marriage, pro-life, pro-limited government, pro-gun rights, etc. People may not agree with every value, but that does not mean we are against these people. In fact, this is the beauty of AmericaE Pluribus Unumdifferent people coming together for one common goal. Changing this terminology almost immediately makes Republicans more approachable and relatable. One of the biggest mistakes of the 2012 election is that we just wanted to be the party against Obama but that was not attractive. We do not need to just be the opposite of the Democratic Partywe need to be our own party. We need to be the party that puts differences aside to work together. Suggestions: 1. Do not change or dilute our message. 2. Understand and relate the idea that no party will be able to be attractive to everyone. 3. Stop presenting our message like professors or just as more rules to follow. 4. Stop being the party against Democrats and instead the party for Conservative values.

1. Republicans Dont Care

The Growth and Opportunity Project had an entire section dedicated to this phrase but never really addressed the problem. Republicans are wrongly labeled as uncompassionate since they do not support as many government programs. People think that since we want to make cuts in wasteful and overlapping spending that we are the party that hates the poor. The statistics, however, tell otherwise. Professor Arthur Brooks, in his book, Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism, finds:

Although liberal families' incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberalheaded household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227).
How do Democrats make the case Republicans dont care now? They cannot. This independent study breaks the stereotype that all Republicans are rich and do not care about the poor.

Real Growth & Missed-Opportunities Project

Our problem is not that we do not careits that we do not talk about how we care. People have tried to label me as uncompassionate because I am a Republican. However, true compassion is caring enough to give time and money of your own. The Democrats approach seems apatheticto just sit idly and hope government takes care of all those in need. This proved to be the hardest thing for Mitt Romney to overcome during the 2012 election. Romney is compassionate. However, the stories of Romney helping kids and the fact that he donates drastically more than the President were sparingly used on the campaign. From the start, Romney was labeled as just a mean rich businessman. To overcome these stereotypes, we must talk about how Republicans care. Recommendations: Talk about how Republicans care about the poor through charities. Support and encourage charities that provide services the government has traditionally provided. Voice the concern that government programs may soon go bankrupt and that there needs to be more private charities to take their place.

Real Growth & Missed-Opportunities Project

Expanding Demographics
Like I said in the previous unit, we do not need a new message just to attract more diverse voters. In fact, many of the things the left has pressured the GOP to ditch might just be our best bet to attract more voters. In addition, we need to overcome the stereotypes that surround different demographic groups. One person I talked to said that she felt she had to be a Democrat because she was Hispanic, young, a woman, and from a lowincome household. Unfortunately, society has blatantly voiced these types of stereotypes to the extent that people now vote on who they arenot what they believe. Suggestions: 1. Be the party of inclusion. 2. Reach out to people who society says wont fit in with Republicans.

1. Minorities
What do Hispanics, African Americans, Jewish Americans, and Catholics all have in common? Besides the fact that all these groups supported Barack Obama, these groups are all, for the most part, socially conservative. So why are we planning to ditch our social conservative message when that is really our strongest connection with these diverse voting blocs? In 2012, Republicans had a great opportunity to reach out to traditionally liberal voters but failed to do so. With the President's HHS mandate, social conservative Democrats became disappointed in the president. Catholics, who traditionally vote for Democrats, began to question their political alignment. But, Republicans decided to not make an issue of it ultimately losing the Catholic vote. About 70% of Hispanics, who are the fastest growing minority in the United States, are Catholic. They might support government programs, but often due to their Catholicism, are social conservatives. Keeping our social conservative values will attract these voters. Remember the person I mentioned at the beginning of this unit? After I talked through the issues with her, she realized that the things she cared about the mostsocial issuescoordinated with the Republican

Real Growth & Missed-Opportunities Project

Party. This proves that keeping the social conservative message will appeal to at least some minorities. Another person I talked to revealed some information that kind of shocked me. As many people know, the Supreme Court heard a case to repeal affirmative action. I would have thought that minorities would support affirmative action. However, this person said affirmative action feels degrading more than anythingfor the government to say that you are not good enough to make it on your own. People want to build their own success. Yet, the left has continually mocked these people saying, You didnt build that. We need to be the party that encourages everyoneall races and sexesto build their own success. People do not need the government to be successful. People are successful on their own skills and ambition. Recommendations: Keep the social conservative message. Break the stereotypes by showing that the Conservative message can appeal to everyone. Support ending affirmative action. Encourage success and tell people they do not need governments help to be successful.

2. Youth
The core message of the Republican Party is one of freedom, independence, and liberty. This message resonates well with young people (one of the reasons the Libertarian movement attracted so many college-aged kids). While I do not support dismantling the Republican part in favor of the Libertarian movement, I do think we need to learn a lesson from Libertarians on how to attract the youth vote. The GOP must also not ignore pop culture. Ignoring the culture of today only gives the left more ground to label us as out-of-touch. Fortunately, there are young people within the Republican Party that have started to try to combine pop-culture with the GOPs core message to create an alternative group of conservatives or #AltCon as they call themselves on Twitter. Tyler McNally, a teenager who was attracted to politics because of this new movement, said, #AltCon is trying to engage the culture to show them that Conservatism is not lame and old but rather cool and helpful.

Real Growth & Missed-Opportunities Project

There is a misconception that if a teenager wants to be conservative they are limited to listening to conservative talk radio and the occasional contemporary Christian music. The #AltCon movement wants to break this stereotype. Conservative teenagers listen and watch the same thing that other teenagers do; we just have a different view of the governments involvement in our lives. Like I said earlier, our message is timeless, but that does not mean we cannot do better at keeping up with the times. Reinvent the quotes of Reagan, Coolidge, and our founding fathers to fit the audience of today. The same message will always be needed but we need to make it relatable to our culture. On this note, our rhetoric has been virtually unchanged since the 1980s. I love Ronald Reagan, as do all Conservatives, but the time has come to start being original. Several weeks ago, nearly every speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) recited a quote from Reagan in his or her speech. Reagans message was a great one, and we can learn a lot from it. However, it is not hard to see why we are labeled as outdated when all of our talking points are at least 30 years old. We need to present new, innovative ideas that stay in line with our fundamental beliefs. The Republican Party is in desperate need of people that can do thisget the timeless message across while still making it relevant to today. Recommendations: Emphasize our message of freedom and independence to the youth. Prove our message is timeless by relating it to today. Encourage new and innovative ways to express our message. Work alongside pop-culture to get our message across. Produce high quality marketing material. Support young Conservative groups across the country.

3. Women
According to the media the Republicans have declared a war on women. But if there is actually war, according to the lefts message women would not even be able to fight or protect themselves.

Real Growth & Missed-Opportunities Project

Colorado state representative, Joe Salazar (D-Thornton), made some of the most degrading statements I have ever heard toward women. In his opinion, women did not deserve the same 2nd amendment right that men do because women may accidently shoot innocent people out of the paranoia of rape. This comment goes back to the rhetoric of the early 20th century (and Republicans we are called out-of-touch). Women deserve the right to be able to protect themselves and their families. So why are Democrats considered the party of women? Well, lets look at women who did turn out in support of the Republican Partymarried women. Romney actually won the married women vote, so what makes married women different than single? Married women understand the need to protect their families. Moms are the CEO of the household. They know better than anyone the side effects of the Obama economythe higher prices at the grocery store, the increased cost at the pump, the raise in taxes. It is pretty degrading when the left assumes women do not care about economic issues. Just because an issue is not a womens issue does not mean women do not care about it. Every issue affects women. Single women really do not want anything different than married women. One way to attract women is to encouraging job offers and salary based on performance. Women do not want a handout. Well, maybe Sandra Fluke does, but most women want to be independent, responsible and successful. The White House talks a lot about equal pay, and does not even practice it's own suggestions. Women should make more than menif they are better employees. Pay should be based on talent. Women deserve the right to make as much as they deserve. Recommendations: Point out the Democrats hypocrisy on issues. Get input from women on all issues. Encourage pay based on talent. Believe in women by saying that they can be successful without the governments help.

Real Growth & Missed-Opportunities Project 10

Winning Elections
All of the above solutions will help attract more voters but even that cannot win elections. Winning elections requires more. This last November I made phone calls for candidates I believed in. I expected some people I called to yell and get upset and most to hang up before I could finish saying Hello! Im from the __________ campaign. What I did not expect, however, were the people who supported the candidate but were not willing to do anything. So many people I called praised my efforts but shut down even the thought of giving up their own time to help out. The Republican Party must create a stronger grassroots volunteer team to get-out-the-vote. The RNC needs new ways to reach voters and to get people to volunteer however they can. Suggestions: 1. Create a strong grassroots team 2. Create new ways to reach voters 3. Find different ways for people to volunteer 4.

1. New Media
Possibly the most egregious error on the RNCs part was not mentioning blogs and barely mentioning social networking. By this time, everyone should realize that we cannot trust the mainstream media to accurately depict the Republican message. Because of this, we have to be able to voice our concerns elsewhere. Luckily, this is now possible. With the rise of blogging and microblogging, like Twitter, Conservatives have the ability to voice their message without having to filter it through the media. Look on sites like Twitter and you will immediately see how vocal conservatives are. For example, conservative tagging such as #tcot (top conservatives on twitter) seems to always be trending. Unfortunately, the Republican Party has largely ignored these efforts by so many conservatives. Bloggers are at the forefront of the battle. If we really want to compete with the professional media we will need high-quality content. The Republican Party needs to provide workshops and trainingboth online and in personto make sure bloggers have the ability to be taken seriously.

Real Growth & Missed-Opportunities Project 11

Using new media is especially important in targeting the youth. It might be hard to imagine a teenager sitting down and watching Fox News, but we can use the sites and social networks that teenagers already use to directly present them with information. Bethany Bowra, a conservative teenage blogger, said the biggest thing the RNC is missing with bloggers is that were shaping the narrative more now than ever. For example, just last week the media refused to cover the trial of Kermit Gosnell, but this did not stop Conservatives. Conservatives took to Twitter to inform people on the horrors of what Gosnell did to the most innocent in this worldbabies. Conservatives forced the media to cover the Gosnell story. New media truly is a powerful tool for Republicans. Recommendations: Use new media platforms to get message across. Host training sessions for bloggers. Give bloggers special access to interviewing key leaders, politicians, etc. This will give bloggers much more credibility in the world of media.

2. Grassroots Campaign
Listen up. This might be the only time I ever suggest looking to Democrats as an example. However, the DNCs grassroots campaign method is something that deserves recognition. Just last week I saw that the DNC in Texas was offering grassroots training. Why do we not have something like this? Maybe if the RNC offered training people would be more willing to volunteer. One of our biggest problems is we do not start trying to get out the vote until right before elections. Instead, this should be a continual processnot just begin and end with elections. There needs to be training for block walkers, phone bankers, and other types of volunteers. In addition, the RNC needs to work on targeting different groups. The youth, for example, will be much more likely to listen to young conservatives than others. The RNC needs to partner up with conservative groups across college and high-school campuses to

Real Growth & Missed-Opportunities Project 12

engage and reach out to their peers. Young Democrats of America is so successful because the DNC directly helps and supports each club. The RNC could do a much better job with providing and helping willing volunteers. Recommendations: Create a year round grassroots team of volunteers. Offer volunteer training to help volunteers become better and more efficient. Support and interact directly with conservative clubs and groups across the country.

Real Growth & Missed-Opportunities Project 13

Thats the end of my plan, but this is not the end.

I dont expect you to agree with all my ideas, so I challenge everyone to make their own plans. Share them with your friends or followers (just make sure to send them to me too).

Lets send a message to the Republican Party that we dont need a new message.