According to Whit Ayres, a respected Republican political consultant, the GOP has no choice but to expand their base beyond “older whites, blue-collar whites, marries people and rural residents” is they want to have any chance of winning the White House in 2016.
His book, 2016 and Beyond: How Republicans Can Elect a President in the New America (an excerpt of which was published in the Wall Street Journal) outlines the problems of a shrinking GOP base and a growing Democratic one. According to Ayres, Republicans must nominate “a candidate who can speak to minorities, especially Hispanics, and offer a vivid and compelling vision of expanded economic opportunity at home and a stronger America abroad.”
Put bluntly, Republicans “must find a way to appeal to more nonwhite voters.”
Ayres does the math on the changing demographics of the United States, and makes a powerful case for why this outreach mandate means everything when it comes to electing another Republican president. Unfortunately, many candidates will read this message and take from it the exact wrong advice. The necessity of expanding the GOP base is obvious. But that cannot mean abandoning principle. It can’t mean giving up social consciousness to embrace the liberal agenda. If blacks and Hispanics want to vote for a liberal, they will vote for a Democrat. Every time. What the party needs to do is begin making specific, conservative-based arguments for why they should be the party of minorities.
Because, in almost every way, they should.
Turning Black Voters to the Right
Republicans have much to overcome if they wish to sway black voters to their side of the aisle. Democrats have sown up the black vote, even though their policies have only proven disastrous for that reliable demographic. This is so rarely mentioned by Republican candidates, though. Instead, most seem comfortable simply conceding these Americans to the Democrats. Why?
Issues like school choice, economic growth, and the protection of individual rights should be easy-to-sell ideas when it comes to drawing in African-American voters. But it’s going to take work. It’s going to take real outreach. It’s not going to happen overnight, and the GOP may never effectively become the default choice of the black community. They don’t have to. If they can whittle away even ten percent of the Democrat stranglehold, it will be enough.
Winning the Hispanic Vote
Cautious, timid Republicans think Jeb Bush is the right candidate because he is in favor of Obama’s idea of immigration reform. Again, though: if liberal Hispanics want to vote for a liberal, they’re not going to vote for a moderate Republican. How hard is that to understand?
You don’t have to abandon conservative and common sense principles to attract Hispanics. Republicans are already making inroads with that growing demographic, but there is much more work to be done. It starts, once again, with messaging. It starts by trumpeting the values of immigration and the importance of that immigration to the economic growth of the country. That is a philosophy long-embraced by conservatives, and it is only downplayed today because of the fight over the security of our borders. Our country is not strengthened by the kind of immigration Obama and Bush espouse. It is strengthened by inviting the best and brightest to come to this country within the framework of the law.
Hispanics are pro-family, largely conservative on social issues, and have been suffering under the same Democrat policies that have done so much damage to the black community. Give them a reason to change their minds. Show them, point by point, how their allegiance to the Democrats is not in their best interests.
Winning over a broader base doesn’t have to mean marginalizing the one you have. Conservative principles transcend race and ethnicity. We don’t need a candidate who betrays them. We need a candidate who embodies them.