That's my suggestion in this week's Scripps Howard column, taking stock of the election results:
Here's a bit of friendly advice to my friends in the Republican Party: It's time to stop being so afraid of minorities. It's the only way you'll survive future elections.
Save me the talk about how you're not afraid of minorities. Your party spent 40 years pursuing the "Southern Strategy" of demonizing blacks to curry favor with Southern whites. Your party held up Arizona's anti-immigration law -- along with its racial-profiling practices -- as a model for the nation. Your party just this year passed voter ID laws that were a clear attempt to suppress minority votes. And your party tried to win the 2012 election by digging up an old videotape of Obama just weeks before this election, suggesting (falsely) that it was proof of his reverse racism.
Republicans have sent a clear, unmistakable message. It has been just as unmistakably received. The result? Romney earned the support of a whole lot of white male voters -- and not a whole lot of anyone else.
Women? African-Americans? Latinos? They ended up mostly voting for Obama. And Obama won re-election, you may have noticed.
It doesn't have to be this way. There's nothing inherently "white" about a desire for limited government, or lower taxes or even "family values." If the GOP were seen as a welcoming place for a wider cross section of America, it would earn the support of a wider cross section of America. White guys can't deliver an election on their own anymore.
Really, all you have to do is rethink your "severely conservative" rhetoric on immigration policy, and you might find a quick change in your electoral fortunes. Pass the DREAM Act. Start printing up visas for guest workers. These are measures that had GOP support in the past.
Support them again -- and change nothing else -- and you might win again.I would love for this to happen, actually, would love for us to untangle our politics from tribalistic identity battles and instead really just be competitions between competing ideas. That's perhaps overly idealistic of me, but I would love it. And I don't think it requires much of a philosophical change on the part of conservatives--just (ahem) a bit of an attitude adjustment.