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GOP autopsy

GOP autopsy

GOP Report (Republican National Committee)

A March 18 report by the Republican National Committee warns, “Unless something changes, it will be increasingly difficult for Republicans to win another presidential election in the near future.” 

The nearly 100-page autopsy on last November’s election concluded, “Public perception of the party is at record lows … young voters are increasingly rolling their eyes at what the Party represents, and many minorities wrongly think that Republicans do not like them or want them in the country.” 

But the report’s recommendations anger social conservatives and the GOP’s grassroots: It calls for Republicans to “champion comprehensive immigration reform” and downplay social issues. While it does not push for a public change in the party’s support of traditional marriage, the report argues: “There is a generational difference within the conservative movement about issues involving the treatment and the rights of gays—and for many younger voters, these issues are a gateway into whether the Party is a place they want to be.” 

Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, noted that the report doesn’t mention pro-life issues and said such a de-emphasis would alienate a crucial voting block: “Social issues are keys to reaching certain minorities the GOP yearns to attract, as well as to motivate millions of voters who first gravitated to the party as Reagan Democrats.” 

The report also calls for changes to the presidential primary process, including holding the GOP convention earlier, reducing by half the number of presidential debates, and holding primaries in regional clusters instead of caucuses and conventions. Opponents fear that a shortened primary season would reward a well-funded, establishment choice and make it harder for grassroots-driven outsiders to sustain a challenge like the one mounted last year by former Sen. Rick Santorum. Party insiders and consultants were a top villain at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). The conference included a panel titled “Should We Shoot all the Consultants Now?”