As the dust settles and hordes of strategists offer their opinions about where the Republican Party needs to go from election night forward, here is a decidedly different viewpoint.
Many proposed solutions have been bandied about, from dumping Trump to trying to connect to the broader electorate through more compassionate messaging.
Welcome to 2018.
The need for the GOP to look at their messaging has been a recommendation for years, so it is more than amusing to see some folks trip over their own insouciant behavior to breathlessly espouse the benefits of connecting with the heart of the electorate. What has been lacking is the will to believe that messaging is an area in which anyone other than the candidates should be participating.
Then there’s the president; to dump President Trump would be an error. Turning our back on the nomination of two conservative Supreme Court Justices and the reams of regulation already repealed would be a critical mistake, one the base would surely make any Republican candidate pay dearly for. There is an appropriate way to be supportive of the president, and that is to stand on the policies that are positively impacting the lives of every Coloradan.
Republicans need to take an all-of-the-above approach and do these four things:
1) Rebuild the infrastructure. Give disaffected voters a reason to come back and inspire a vision for the future. Voters will not buy into the negative proclamations of rabid government overreach.
2) Court a more diverse electorate. People will come over to the party once they see that there is a welcoming place for them to land. The highly coveted unaffiliated vote includes women, minorities and millennial voters. Republicans would be wise to acknowledge that and target their messaging and outreach appropriately.
3) Message the issues in a way that meets people where they’re at. There is a way to be principled and still communicate the issues in a manner that people will receive them. No more hot rhetoric or zero-sum politicking.
Finally, 4) listen to women. Really listen to the issues that matter most. Don’t expect Republican women to always go along for the ride and recognize that unaffiliated women want to be heard too.
Those stifled by their own tone-deaf arrogance need to start thinking like the party of entrepreneurs that we are and begin marketing to the broader electorate. Every successful business from Coca Cola to L’Oréal does just that.
Voters want a Colorado that reflects the richness and diversity toward which women contribute. Understand that there are plenty of qualified, dynamic women in the party and utilize them.
If Republicans can incorporate these suggestions and put forth a messenger that can capture the imagination of the electorate, then they will win once again.
Sherrie Gibson is vice chair of the Colorado Republican Party.