RNC's Priebus looks to black, Hispanic voters to broaden GOP base

When the RNC came to Hollywood, it was with the purpose of broadening the GOP. Early signs show they're serious. Photo: AP

OAKLAND, June 13, 2013 ― The Republican National Committee held its Spring board meeting in Hollywood, California. With improving the Republican brand among minority communities a top priority, Los Angeles was a logical choice for GOP leaders to congregate.

Los Angeles has a diverse population, including many Hispanics. Republicans struggled in the 2012 presidential election among Latino and gay voters. The GOP share of the Jewish vote increased, but remains nowhere near parity. Democrats still win 19 of every 20 black voters.

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RNC Chairman Reince Priebus of Wisconsin has a challenge, and he is serious about broadening the party of Lincoln. Liberals hate Priebus for being a Republican to begin with, but he has even faced attacks from conservatives. Some Republicans see coalition building as code for sacrificing conservative principles on the alter of political pandering and expediency. As somebody who attended these meetings as a guest, these conservative critics are, respectfully, flat out wrong.

Priebus is in Cleveland, Ohio this week on a “listening tour” of black groups. Those who deem this is a waste of time are wrong. If the GOP wants every vote, they have to talk to and listen to everybody. This takes time, and there is no time like the present.

The RNC is attacked for being the “establishment.” Of course they are the establishment. Major political parties require leaders. Otherwise, one gets the dysfunction found in movements like Occupy Wall Street.

Priebus is not a showhorse worshiping his own voice on the Sunday morning talk shows that only the chattering classes watch. He is a calm midwesterner who quietly goes about the job of running an entire political party. He “inherited” a deficit, but unlike President Obama he did not complain about it. He went about rebuilding the infrastructure, and red ink has been replaced with a GOP that is back in the black.

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Priebus gets blamed for the 2012 election loss, but Republicans lead Democrats in governorships by a healthy thirty to twenty margin.

While conservatives have every right to be frustrated with Republican congressional leaders, Priebus does not have a floor vote. He did not raise taxes, and has never advocated doing so. Many critics of the GOP “establishment” want to vent at anybody and everybody, which does not advance solutions.

It is heartening for conservatives to see that every wing of the conservative movement was present in Hollywood. Libertarians supporting Ron Paul were outvoted on some issues, but they made their case. Moderate Republicans and staunch conservatives had healthy discussions.

Meetings about how to broaden the party without betraying conservatism led to serious and frank exchanges. Whenever the GOP show its many leaders of all different races and religions, those individuals are derided by liberals as tokens. This insults to many hard workers who succeeded on merit.

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Glenn McCall (who happens to be black) is the South Carolina National Committeeman. Harmeet Dhillon (who happens to be Sikh) is the new California GOP Vice Chair. David Chang (who happens to be Asian) is the Hawaii GOP Chairman. Women were everywhere, since every state has a National Committeeman and Committeewoman (as do the Democrats). The National Federation of Republican Women had President Rae Chornenky of Arizona in attendance.

The GOP simply refuses to be defined by narrow interest groups. Leaders “happen to be” black, female, Hispanic, Sikh, Asian, and other ethnicities, but what unites them is philosophy. The difference between the Republicans and Democrats is about the system of core beliefs. The Republican Party actually has them.

Democrats have Hollywood stars, but Republicans have stars who actually matter. President Ronald Reagan’s son Michael Reagan helped kick off the opening night festivities. A Saturday luncheon featured Vice President Dick Cheney, who remains the very best of the best. That luncheon also featured a tribute to various individuals who have given their lives to serving their country and the Republican Party. A Saturday night dinner featured Colonel Allen West, who truly knows how to inspire from a leadership standpoint.

Nightly gatherings in the hospitality suites could be described as “Pints with Reince.” Priebus was accessible to people and eager to share his vision of broadening the GOP. While there is always room for a party to improve, panic is simply not warranted and was not encouraged. The GOP lost the White House but is winning at every level below that and is in a strong position to make further gains in 2014. The party has a much stronger bench for 2016 than it did in 2012. A new generation of rising stars including Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Colonel Allen West, Chris Christie, Rand Paul and others all represent various wings of the GOP coalition. This is real diversity, and exactly the kind of healthy robust conversation that Priebus can take pride in.

The GOP is also about freedom and liberty. Attendees smoked cigars, drank alcoholic beverages, and allowed themselves sodas that New York liberals want to outlaw. There was even freedom of speech. Disagreements were respectful. Nobody was demonized for disagreeing on any one particular issue. Outside of these meetings, this is an unfamiliar concept in Hollywood.

There was no Hollywood or media circus, just a precious few (not few enough) leftist opinion journalists posing as reporters looking to create imaginary conflicts. There were four days of serious discussions by mature adults interested in actually doing things to improve the party and the country. One does not have to agree with everything the GOP stands for to appreciate, based on these meetings, that at least it stands for something.

The Republican Party is the only mainstream center-right political party that can advance conservatism at the national level. The Republican National Committee seems well positioned to do exactly that.

Two months have passed since those meetings, and it is apparent to anybody honestly following politics that the serious ideas expressed will be followed by meaningful tangible improvements for the GOP and the country as a whole.

Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian. Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.”

Eric is 100% alcohol, tobacco, drug, and liberalism free. Follow Eric on Twitter @TYGRRRREXPRESS. 

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Eric Golub

Eric Golub is a politically conservative Jewish blogger, author, public speaker, and comedian. His book trilogy is “Ideological Bigotry,” “Ideological Violence,” and  “Ideological Idiocy.” 

He is Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and has lived in Los Angeles since 1990. He received his Bachelors degree from the University of Judaism, and his MBA from USC. A stockbrokerage professional since 1994, he began blogging on March 11th, 2007, the three year anniversary of the Madrid bombings and the midpoint of 9/11. He has been inflicting his world view on his unfortunate readers since then. He blogs about politics Monday through Friday, and about football and other human interest items on weekends.



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