WASHINGTON, April 9, 2013 ― The Republican Party is split. On the one hand we have the Liberty wing of libertarian leaning Republicans, on the other we have social conservative “values” voters, and on the other, John McCain neocons. None of these is likely to support Hillary Clinton in 2016 ― except, perhaps, John McCain. None is likely to praise the presidency of Barack Obama ― except, perhaps, John McCain.
So how do Republicans prepare for 2016?
Republican preparation for 2016 has already started. They aren’t picking candidates, and preparation definitely does not mean Karl Rove running around putting panels together to find the perfect Rovian candidate. The preparation has begun in the sense that Republicans are thinking about infusing themselves into the urban centers that they were so soundly defeated in during the 2012 elections.
Yes, Reince Priebus, (yes, really, Reince Priebus!), is looking at this bone crushing defeat correctly. He is looking not for a change in principles, but a change in strategies. A continued lack of attention to changing demographics wil only ensure more failure. Failure to address the Black community will lead to even more calls of racism. Yes, it is time to form a Republican coalition that can govern at all levels.
But that also means sealing up those party splits. Consider the possibilities of Senators Rand Paul and Marco Rubio joining forces. These gentlemen represent the divides in the Party, and they could be a force to heal them. Rand Paul is strong with the Liberty wing; Marco Rubio, with the support of Jeb Bush and Party stalwarts, is more palatable to Republican moderates and social conservatives. Both Paul and Rubio have stated that there needs to be a “path to citizenship.” Both senators have made the point for entitlement reform. Both participated in the last senate filibuster. There are enough points of agreement that they could work together and their appeal would be wide-spread.
The problem is how to convince Republicans that they need both wings of the Party at the policy table. Other Republicans must be convinced that the Rand Paul Republicans are not wild-eyed, anti-government barbarians at the gates. They are people who believe in the power and the freedom of the individual. They believe that the last great hope for liberty is the United States. Republicans must understand that these are ideas that are much like the stated ideals of the Republican Party.
The need for understanding goes both ways. Rand Paul conservatives (the Liberty wing of the GOP) must too be convinced of a few things. They must be convinced that the rank and file Republican is not their enemy and can be a potent ally. They must be convinced that the traditional Republican cares about the same things they do. They must understand that at this point in history third parties are recipe for disaster. And the Liberty wing has to understand that winning debates does not equate to winning elections.
It’s a pretty tall order at this point. To bring together people who have a great distrust of one another will be a herculean task, but there is no other way to defeat the growing Leviathan. They must take on the mantra that “The enemy of my enemy, is my friend” in order to win the 2014 elections. Without wins in 2014, the 2016 election is a moot point.
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