The Republican Majority for Choice recently announced plans to form partnerships with the WISH List - Women in the House and Senate - and with other groups who share the ideals of limited government intrusion and a commitment to the core conservative fiscal policy that once made the GOP so strong. Enthusiasm for these efforts from Republicans across the country was overwhelming. Consistent in their support was an understanding that the GOP cannot survive as a regional Party driven mainly by divisive wedge issues.
The last election showed us what happens when the GOP abandons its core agenda of smaller government, fiscal responsibility and individual freedom. In suburbs across the country, voters who the GOP once relied on chose to support Democratic candidates. A recent study by Muhlenberg College’s Institute of Public Opinion conducted in the key swing state of Pennsylvania showed GOP voters were defecting in record numbers. Sixty-seven percent of those who switched in the last election self-describe as in favor reproductive rights. Fifty-three percent said the Party had become too extreme in its positions and one third supported the sentiment they left the party because of the influence of the religious right on the GOP’s social positions. If the GOP does not change and become a true big tent these voters will not be coming back.
Social fundamentalists who criticize RMC for creating partnerships to promote a broader common-sense agenda also seem to think these defections are good. They have failed to connect the dots — moderates in important swing states left the GOP and the GOP lost elections. Demanding 100% adherence to an extreme single issue agenda seems more important to them than the future success of the GOP. It’s this attitude that will further marginalize the Republican Party and relegate us to a permanent minority.
Despite these nay-sayers we remain optimistic that a true big tent GOP is within reach. We know through our own polling that 81% of Republican voters support a GOP Platform that says we can agree to disagree on social issues. New leadership at the Party, the NRCC and NRSC seem to recognize the vital role of moderate Republicans in winning elections. More importantly, they seem to understand that the GOP must focus on core fiscal conservative values and NOT divisive wedge issues to gain back the trust of voters.
H/T: Real Republican Majority Blog