Demographics, technology, candidate vetting—the Republican Party has no shortage of issues to address as it works to rebuild the party brand.
But the elephant in the room, so to speak, is sometimes overlooked—does GOP policy appeal to the average American?
A relevant recommendation can be found on page 5 of the Growth & Opportunity Project, the GOP’s self-analysis released in March: “If we are going to grow as a Party, our policies and actions must take into account that the middle class has struggled mightily and that far too many of our citizens live in poverty.”
The challenge for Republicans is how to show that party policy—particularly from conservatives—reflects that concern.
“With this upcoming debt ceiling fight, the hope on the part of House Republicans is to talk about tax reform as an economic policy and a job creator,” National Journal reporter Nancy Cook, who writes about the economic aspect of GOP soul-searching in the latest issue of the magazine, said on Monday’s The Daily Rundown.
“The question is can you explain changing the very complex tax code in a way that a nurse or a single mother in Chicago or a family of four in Nevada actually understands,” Cook said.
Another issue contributing to the GOP split—climate change. Worries about global warming have been on the rise in recent years and, according to a recent Gallup poll, the increase in concern has been highest among Republicans. But it’s an issue that has split the party leadership—some, like Alaska’s Sen. Lisa Murkowski, argue that it’s time to seek solutions but others, like Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida downplay or dismiss the issue’s importance.
Coral Davenport, an energy and environment reporter for National Journal, said we shouldn’t be surprised if the two issues collide, forcing top Republicans to get on the same page.
“The more the budget starts to hurt as a result of paying out flood insurance, drought insurance, damages for these increased storm and extreme weather experiences, the more the Republican Party is going to have to look at this as a spending issue,” said Davenport.