Reince Priebus has spoken! He is putting the GOP on his narrow honky shoulders, leading them to an electoral promised land populated by blacks, whites, Latinos, Asians and any other sub-bloc of the voting populous, excluding, naturally, homosexuals.
“I just sort of reached a boiling point on the issue,” Priebus told the publication The Hill in an interview on Friday. “I want to fix these problems.”
By ‘these problems,’ one can only assume that Priebus was referring to the widely reported, staggering margins by which Republicans lost the last election among minority voting blocs. In the 2012 Presidential election, Obama won 93% of the black vote, 71% of the Hispanic vote and 73 % of the Asian vote.
This was the bitter pill Republicans were forced to swallow before facing the music. And they have since been slowly coming to terms with the fact that the music has changed, and these days the soundtrack of American electoral victory is packed with hip-hop, jazz, mariachi and a hint of Chinese folk music, whatever that is.
And with his ears open, Reince Priebus (who once compared the War on Women to a War on Caterpillars) is intent on cementing his legacy; claiming that on his watch, he will govern a Republican revolution in which they actually make a concerted effort to reach out to minority voters. And he probably will. I mean, come on, look at the picture on the right. Wouldn’t you trust this guy?
Now, what is one to make of this evolution? Is this a matter of Republicans seeking to genuinely grow and evolve to match the diversified electoral population of the 2013 American landscape? Or is this just the opening salvo in a desperate counteroffensive aimed at offsetting the sweeping gains made by the Democrats in wooing minority voters in the last few electoral cycles?
“Our legacy is going to be that we were the RNC that actually turned the talk into action…” Priebus said.
Well, let’s think about this. What type of ‘action’ is the Republican Party prepared to engage in? What type of action or policies that would appeal to minority voters are they prepared to enact?
The natural place to start would be on immigration. With large Mexican populations, states like Texas are drifting toward ‘swing state’ status and Republicans could gain favor by not only supporting, but CHAMPIONING immigration reform that provides an eventual path to citizenship for all immigrants. They could strengthen their position by softening their stance on allowing such paths to manifest in conjunction with, not after, the borders have been further secured. This ‘sticking point’ is one of the larger hurdles facing a bi-partisan agreement on immigration reform and one Republicans would benefit from abandoning.
Appealing to black voters will be a trickier matter for Republicans to navigate. Doing so would require adopting or at the very least, allowing, a slew of Democratic agendas to proliferate; including but not limited to: expanding Medicaid coverage via ObamaCare, sustaining welfare and unemployment benefits in their present iterations, encouraging voting rights reform to insure that minority voting rights are protected, not suppressed via state-by-state reforms aimed at minimizing the cogency of the minority vote.
Gun safety is another issue the GOP could capitalize on. Although mass shootings like those in Sandy Hook and Aurora get the most press, the majority of gun violence victims are residents of poverty-stricken, minority-heavy communities. Republicans could support gun safety legislation, framing it as a genuine concern for the citizens of our inner cities.
“In order to start winning presidential elections, I think we have to start winning over people’s hearts,” Priebus said.
Well, in order to start winning over the hearts of minorities, Republicans will have to stop making cuddly little statements like Mitt’s lamentation of the efforts of the 47%.
Republicans will also have to, and yes I know this will be difficult, abandon policies that have long-since been aimed at appealing to the hate-mongering, fear-driven goal of procuring a ‘White Power’ governing body.
And that is a tall order.
Because it is difficult to appeal to black voters with a policy platform aimed at protecting tax-cuts for rich white people, preventing the Affordable Care Act from expanding Medicaid coverage to millions of poor black Americans, forcing immigrants into “self-deportation” and supporting gun rights that have resulted in the annihilation of countless inner-city youths
So let’s forget for the moment that the future of the GOP’s legacy is in the hands of the only living creature I have ever heard of with the name Reince. And let’s hope that blacks, Latinos and Asians can forget that too because they will have to!
And yes, let us speculatively embrace this possibility. Because, and yes this may be wishful thinking, I believe that having a serious two-party debate about immigration reform, improving voting conditions and providing health care for the poor, would be unequivocally advantageous for our increasingly diversified citizenship.
Will Republicans join the effort? Reince says ‘yes.’ But will the rest of the Republican Party follow suit? Time will tell.