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Five Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes for the GOP

Sarah Palin. Mitt Romney. Mike Huckabee. Fred Thompson. Bobby Jindal. Michael Steele. Tim Pawlenty.

Generally when there’s talk of the future leaders of the party, those are the names that are generally in the mix. I’ve got one more…Greg Ball.

Greg Ball is the 31 year-old Assemblyman for New York’s 99th district. He, like all of us with an “R” after our last name, has written aboot what he thinks the Republican party needs to do to grow, survive, and so on. There were five ideas, but one in particular I found interesting…

We must embrace the rise of a new force: unaffiliated voters. In New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Colorado, unaffiliated voters now outnumber either Democrats or Republicans. Those who refuse to register with any party are now the fastest growing group of voters in many districts. These voters represent a huge opportunity for a new Republican Party willing and able to meet their needs and tap into their frustration.

Colorado I’m not surprised aboot…but the other three states? Massachusetts?!? On the surface a state like MA seems like a pipe dream (and most likely is), but if a majority of voters are registering to vote unaffiliated from either party, we need to learn why. Are they right leaning, but didn’t want to associate with President Bush? Are they lefties who “shun labels?” Figuring out what makes unaffiliated voters unaffiliated, even in states that seem out of reach, and exploiting the reason why, is a good “out of the box” idea that needs some serious consideration.

The plan is after the break…


First, Republicans must become true agents for reform, in both Albany and Washington. Taxpayers in New York have been left with little choice, and have come to view choosing between Republicans and Democrats as having to choose between a heart attack or cancer, with few exceptions.

Second, we must embrace the rise of a new force: unaffiliated voters. In New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Colorado, unaffiliated voters now outnumber either Democrats or Republicans. Those who refuse to register with any party are now the fastest growing group of voters in many districts. These voters represent a huge opportunity for a new Republican Party willing and able to meet their needs and tap into their frustration.

Third, Republicans must represent Main Street not Wall Street, and that means addressing tough issues like Medicare and Social Security, immigration, government spending, corruption, outsourcing and corporate welfare. Candidates are products, and elections are events. Voters must have a reason to show up, and when they do, they have to have a reason to pull the lever for our brand. Understanding those two separate components is key to future victories. We must address voter mistrust and actually reflect their concerns in our policies and initiatives, and give them a real reason to vote Republican.

Fourth, if Newt Gingrich and T. Boone Pickens can both build an army of 1.4 million activists around sustainable energy, and Barack Obama can recruit 3 million voters to receive his text messages, than the Republican Party can similarly mobilize voters around the “kitchen table” issues I just mentioned. This grass-roots organizing is key, but also represents the tip of the iceberg in the new age of political messaging.

Fifth, the Republican Party must get back to basics and realize our grassroots activists are the source of our greatest strength, not a dilemma to be managed. We must build large national and state networks to embrace millions of rank-and-file Republicans, invite them back in, and tap their energy, ideas and creativity. Loyal Republicans must remember that this nation just elected an extremely liberal president, and if his knee jerks to the left, while laying out his definition of “change,” there will be an opportunity in the waiting for our party, nationwide.

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