Republican Party Needs An Urban Strategy, Not A New Message
Since the presidential election, much of the political discourse has shifted to an analysis of why Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney lost and what the Republican Party needs to do to win in 2016.
Much of the talk mistakenly focuses on the idea that the GOP needs to reformulate its message to gain a larger share of minority votes. In other words, the Republican stand on important issues such as abortion, amnesty, tax cuts, small government and limited entitlements must be reformulated to match what pundits pronounce is the more left-wing outlook of America's urban poor.
Adopting this strategy would, in my humble view, be a huge mistake for the Republican Party. The Republican message is not the reason we take such a drubbing in the cities; the real fault is the complete failure of the Republican Party to communicate its message in these areas.
How are people expected to vote for a party they have never seen in their neighborhood? Why would it be logical to expect people to endorse a message they have never heard?
Republicans need to face the fact that America's urban residents vote Democratic largely because Democrats have been selling the party's message on the residents' radio stations, on their local television stations, at their doors, on their streets, and at their polling stations. Until the Republican establishment commits resources to a long-term strategy to compete on this level directly to the nation's poor and minority urban residents, we have no hope of winning their votes no matter what our message is.
One more warning to Republican Party leaders: Any plan to attract the votes of America's minority voters that puts reformulating the party's tenets ahead of an effort to communicate its philosophy directly to America's urban neighborhoods will fail completely and create a wider divide between the Republican establishment and its conservative base. That will guarantee failure in 2016 and beyond.
Scott Armstrong, a member of the Allentown School Board, is former chairman of the Allentown Republican City Committee, former member Lehigh County Republican Latino Committee and former member of the county Republican Executive Committee.
The above Your View Editorial appeared in The Morning Call on Saturday Dec. 1, 2012