The Republican National Committee released Monday a massive report on the state of the party to be used as a road map to win back the White House in 2016. Among the 219 recommendations is the RNC plan to cut down on the number of presidential debates during the primary and to move the conventions up to June or July.
It will also spend $10 million dollars on outreach to African-Americans, latinos, and asian voters, part of a broader strategy to end the perception that the GOP is a party of old, rich, white men. According to the RNC’s own research, focus groups described the GOP as “narrow-minded”, “out of touch” and filled ”stuffy old men.”
“I don’t think we’re the stuffy old men, I’m a fairly young vibrant guy, but I think at the end of the day perception matters,” said Sean Spicer, RNC communications director, said on Jansing & Co Monday.
One section of the report details the party’s problem with younger voters.
“On messaging, we must change our tone—especially on certain social issues that are turning off young voters. In every session with young voters, social issues were at the forefront of the discussion; many see them as the civil rights issues of our time. We must be a party that is welcoming and inclusive for all voters.”
But, Spicer insists that doesn’t mean changing views on things like same-sex marriage.
“The pricipals of our party are sound,” he said. ”This is not a question of how do we change the party or the principals. What it is, is saying that, we as a party if we want to grow and if we want to win, and govern again at the presidential level, we’ve got to look at times and say, ‘hey you may not agree with us on every single issue that the party has put out there, but we’re willing to include you in the party as long as you understand where we stand’.”
The RNC report focused mostly on messaging—not policy changes; the only policy supported in the plan was immigration reform.
“Candidates obviously matter and the way they articulate those positions matters. What we’ve got to do is, as a party, put together the mechanism and the infrastructure so that our candidates can run,” Spicer said.
But, it’s not clear if these changes will be well-received by the rest of the party. Just this past weekend speakers at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), gave conflicting views about the state of the party.
“Let’s be clear, we’re not here to re-brand a party, we’re here to rebuild a country,” said Sarah Palin, the former vice presidential nominee.
While former Florida Governor Jeb Bush told CPAC attendees, “Way too many people believe Republicans are anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-science, anti-gay, anti-worker, and the list goes on and on and on.”