The Republican Party has been engaged in an image debate that has become increasingly more public since Barack Obama’s election. Should the party stick to its “core values” or potentially compromise to attract new voters? Paul Green, director of the Roosevelt University Institute for Politics, said in a profile of Chicago Young Republicans in the Chicago Tribune on Aug. 12, “Young people coming up aren’t going to be excited by a party that is against abortion, stem cell research and gay rights.”
This is absolutely true. The GOP can not and will not become the party of “No,” nor is it currently. But some members of the party seem not to mind the label. You know the ones I talk about — the ones who seemingly cheered Chicago’s Olympic loss and worsening unemployment figures on the same day, and the people who want Obama to fail so they can capitalize in 2010. This is not the way to curry favor with the electorate.
To avoid that detrimental label, the party needs to realize that people with moderate views regarding health care, abortion, etc., are still Republicans. These members should not be cast aside or labeled as not “real” Republicans — they should be embraced. These kinds of Republicans offer the best shot at growing the party and winning over independent America. And in a country where more people label themselves as independents then Republicans or Democrats, the independents hold the key to Congress and the White House.
This drama recently played out on our campus, in our own Republican Party, and the outcome saddened me. A chairman with moderate views in regard to abortion, the death penalty, gun control and gay marriage was forced out of office because his views didn’t represent those of the group. When elected members are removed from office because their views are not in accord with “the norm,” it is a cause for concern. I worry about the future of my party if this is the path we choose to take.