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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

March 28, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Opinion

Column: Grand Old Party needs an update

Nov. 6 was a wake-up call for the Republican Party: If the Republican establishment wants to be successful in winning the Senate and White House, it must rebrand itself and focus on the pressing issues of our time — national spending and immigration.

Republicans have gone from the inclusionary party to the exclusionary party by rejecting particular voter groups necessary to win popular elections. Republican candidates such as former representatives Todd Akin (R-MO) and Richard Mourdock (R-IN), stress social issues like the right to life even in cases of rape. These are not the most important issues of our time and clearly not helping the GOP win elections. Republicans should address issues that have been overlooked and bypassed by Congress and the American people, like the fiscal cliff, immigration and civil liberties.

The fiscal cliff is right around the corner yet again. What do Congress and President Barack Obama say? Raise the debt ceiling, something our president said back in 2006 was a “sign of leadership failure.” This is a winning issue for Republicans.

We as Americans all know that the president didn’t “cut the deficit in half” in his first term, as he promised when he was campaigning in 2008, but we can’t focus on the past. We must get past that and work together to come to a viable solution with serious spending cuts. The fiscal cliff deal, which passed when we were all celebrating the New Year at about 2:39 a.m., Jan. 1, has a 1-41 ratio of spending cuts to tax hikes. It’s appalling that this bill is a serious attempt by many to address our spending issues here in America.  In the upcoming months, Republicans are going to have the ability to captivate the American people with an issue that affects us all: money.

Deportation numbers skyrocketed under “progressive” Obama, with Obama deporting roughly 33,000 illegal immigrants a month, while President George Bush only deported about 21,000 a month, according Politifact. With this in mind, it would be simple to address the issue of immigration as an entire party. We have Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), John McCain (R-AZ) and others proposing immigration reforms, but the party has yet take a stand on it.  In order to win, Republicans must appeal to the minority groups who, in past elections, were naturally drawn to the Republican Party. We lost the Latino vote this past election because the party’s image has turned into the party of rich, white men.

President Bush received 44 percent of the Latino vote in 2004, whereas Mitt Romney received just 27 percent in 2012.  As Florida Senator and 2016 presidential hopeful, Marco Rubio, stated on election day, “The conservative movement should have particular appeal to people in minority and immigrant communities who are trying to make it, and Republicans need to work harder than ever to communicate our beliefs to them.” Immigration reform will be reaching the Senate floor any day now. Now more than ever, the party must embrace this compromise and show their true commitment to the American Dream.

Young conservatives acknowledge there is a problem with the Republican Party, and it is important to know the difference between the establishment and us. We don’t always agree with the Republican leadership that lays out the party’s platform, and we know that the party has major work to do if they want to be successful in the Senate and White House. The Republican leadership put a moderate candidate out there in 2012 with a reactionary platform, not a particularly victorious combination. The Republican Party has been the party of big government and infringing on civil liberties by passing legislation like the PATRIOT Act and the NDAA. We can’t cave to higher taxes and minimal spending cuts; we must learn to negotiate with the other side, to compromise.