The GOP had something of an identity crisis following the 2012 presidential election. Mitt Romney lost 83% of nonwhite voters and took home just 44% of women's votes. That year, black women had the highest voter registration and turnout rates of any group, but only 4% voted for Romney. Just 24% of Latina women voted for Romney. Overall, 67% of young people voted for President Obama, leaving Romney with support from just 33% of voters between the ages of 18 and 29.
The turnout made it abundantly clear that while the GOP was very, very good at getting older white people to vote for Republican candidates, they were failing miserably at growing the party. That forced some soul searching (or at least the appearance of soul searching) on the party's national committee.
Their "Growth & Opportunity" report was released as a kind of postmortem to the 2012 election, an effort to reverse the GOP's longstanding trend of hemorrhaging young people, women, and voters of color. It also includes a number of recommendations for moving the GOP forward. (Read: into a future in which white people aren't the majority in the United States.)
I've thought about this report on and off as Donald Trump continues to set the tone for other Republicans, whether he's talking about "anchor babies" or defending his use of "fat pig" to describe women he doesn't like.
So I decided to take a look back and compare some of what's in the report to Trump's speeches, which basically take a chainsaw to those recommendations and then burns up the chainsawed remains and then flushes the ash mix down a toilet and then throws that toilet in a dumpster.
A few standouts:
If Hispanic Americans perceive that a GOP nominee or candidate does not want them in the United States (i.e. self-deportation), they will not pay attention to our next sentence. It does not matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy; if Hispanics think we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies.
Donald Trump on immigration:
"When Mexico sends its people, they are not sending their best… They are sending people that have lots of problems. They are bringing those problems to us. They are bringing drugs and they are bringing crime and their rapists, and some are good people, and I speak to border guards and they tell us what we are getting."
"You look at the statistics on rape, on crime, on everything coming in illegally into this country—they're mind-boggling!"
"I don't think they have American citizenship, and if you speak to some very, very good lawyers, some would disagree. But many of them agree with me—you're going to find they do not have American citizenship. We have to start a process where we take back our country. Our country is going to hell."
Our Party knows how to appeal to older voters, but we have lost our way with younger ones. We sound increasingly out of touch.
Donald Trump on his mastery of technology:
"We have a 5 billion dollar website. I have so many websites… I hire people. They do a website. It costs me three dollars."
The perception that the GOP does not care about people is doing great harm to the Party and its candidates on the federal level, especially in presidential years. It is a major deficiency that must be addressed.
Donald Trump on the violent assault of a Mexican immigrant by two men who told police, "Donald Trump was right":
“It would be a shame… I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.”
The RNC must improve its efforts to include female voters and promote women to leadership ranks within the committee. Additionally, when developing our Party’s message, women need to be part of this process to represent some of the unique concerns that female voters may have.
Donald Trump on sexual assault and his various thoughts about women's appearances:
"Rosie O'Donnell is disgusting, both inside and out. If you take a look at her, she's a slob. How does she even get on television? If I were running The View, I'd fire Rosie. I'd look her right in that fat, ugly face of hers and say, 'Rosie, you're fired.'"