CRP Blog



Sunday, November 14, 2010

Lesson Learned - Back to the Basics

Two weeks ago, the California GOP and many other California Republicans anxiously waited for the polls to close and for most television outlets to project massive gains for the GOP throughout the state of California. California press however, didn’t share the same sense of enthusiasm. Weeks prior to the election, the liberal mainstream press in California, had already begun writing the narrative that the Republican wave would crash with a resounding thud against the Sierra Mountains.

Much to the chagrin of the CRP, unfortunately, the press turned out to be correct.

What the media missed, however, is the herculean effort from California Democrats to fortify the border in fear of a Republican resurgence. This election cycle was doused with desperation for democrats as they needed to rely on five fundraising visits from President Barack Obama, non-stop campaigning from former president Bill Clinton, mindless Joe Biden speeches, and an appearance from the creator-of-the-internet Al Gore. Democrats had to use more resources this election cycle than they have ever used before to keep the GOP from pulling out an upset. Quite frankly that says a whole lot.

Internally, the CRP still had a good year, registering a record number of new GOP voters, closing the gap between registered Democrats and Republicans, flipping San Diego County back to a GOP majority, getting Sam Blakeslee elected to the State Senate in a district where the Democrats have a 6 point registration advantage and where Obama won by 20 points in 2008, and presenting the most diverse statewide ticket in the party's history.

But in the end, it means nothing unless our party begins the long, steady process of reaching into communities where the Democrats traditionally enjoy an advantage. It begins with a simple message:

Democrats believe in government, Republicans believe in you.

Republicans believe in your right to hold the government accountable. We believe in your tenacity, your resolve in times of misery, and your personal integrity. We believe you have the right to send your children to the school that is going to best foster their natural abilities, and provide them with the tools that will help facilitate their success. We believe whether you are Black, White, Hispanic, or all of the above, you are the stuff that presidents are made of.

If we want to win, I believe we need to get back to those basic principles.

The CRP launched an impressive Networks program mid-election cycle but the outreach efforts should be more sustainable and more immense. Recently, our candidate for Secretary of State, Damon Dunn, was speaking at the California College Republican convention in Los Angeles this past summer, and asked several minorities in the crowd, “When is the last time a Republican knocked on your door introduced himself, and just talked with you?”

As you may have guessed, the silence that ensued parallels the silence after Jesus said “Peace be still.” No one could answer the question. Ultimately, when we minorities across the state can answer that question with confidence, the party will be in far better shape.

So, my fellow Republicans, trust that the lesson has been learned. We need to get back to the basics, back to our Reagan principles, and accept what I call "diversity of the same opinion." Believe me, I know this isn’t easy, and it will take a monumental effort to make the changes that I have suggested. But rest assured that the CRP is already putting the plans together to be a stronger, more diverse, and more effective party in 2012.

You can reach Micah at mgrant@cagop.org


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