Since President Barack Obama’s victory over Mitt Romney in last year’s election, I have had to listen to people trying to force the Republican Party to become “moderate.” Much like after the 2008 election, the press and many people from both parties have come out of the woodwork to claim the party needs to make major changes in order to be competitive. I have even heard the modern Republican Party, as a whole, described as “radical.”
The idea that the Grand Old Party is exclusively for cranky old people, or that it needs to “get with the times,” is ridiculous.
I have to respectfully disagree with these false assessments. One of my favorite social science professors said that data tells a story, so let’s take a look at the data.
Gallup reported 40 percent of people polled from Jan. 7-10 this year, identify as Republican or leaning Republican. A Pew Research poll reported 39 percent of Americans call themselves “conservative,” while only 23 percent claim to be “liberal” and 37 percent claim to be “moderate.”
Don’t forget, Obama only won 50.8 percent of the vote, to Romney’s 48.3 percent, according to The New York Times blog fivethirtyeight.com.
To me, that told an interesting story. It told the story of a national media, major party figures and others from both parties who have tried to push for an overhaul of the party when it is not really needed.
Do things need to change? Yes.
The most pressing problems are the economy and the out-of-control spending habits of our bloated government. Yet the GOP takes the bait every time the president decides to bring up distracting social issues such as gay marriage, abortion and illegal immigration. Republicans simply need to keep the spotlight on the most pressing issues and save the social issues for another time.
It was obvious some things need to change after losing two presidential elections in a row. However, these seem to be more like tweaks and minor changes to the platform, not the major overhaul many have called for.
But I don’t believe you can describe Republicans and Conservatives as “radicals.” If a group makes up 40 and 39 percent of the public, respectively, the group does not qualify as being “radical.”
The American public does not blame the Republican Party alone for what happens in Congress as much as the mainstream media likes to suggest. In fact, a substantial number of Republican citizens seem to stand behind their voting decisions, even if they disapprove of Congress as a whole.
I would contend that this falsifies the notion the party should make major alterations to the platform in order to appeal to more Hispanic and black voters. While there does need to be more effort to attract more of these voters, an alteration as large as seems to be suggested would be a net negative to the party.
I am not against making some changes to the party, but doing so on a massive scale would be foolish. Republicans and conservatives are not “radicals,” they are just a sizable portion of the population who disagree with the direction of the country.
And while you don’t have to agree with them, their positions or platforms, they deserve the same amount of respect and consideration as the other side of the political spectrum.