G.O.P., You Don't Know Me: Where Republicans Are Going Wrong Lee Ziesche

On Monday, the Republican National Committee released a report assessing the 2012 election cycle, and laying out a strategy for future Republican campaigns. If you’re young, a woman, Hispanic, African American or Asian, they want you.

The report said young and minority voters feel the Republican Party is out of touch, and “Young voters are increasingly rolling their eyes at what the Party represents.” After reading the report, I’m rolling my eyes, and thinking, yeah no s**t, man.

Full disclosure: I did work for the Obama campaign this year, so I don’t necessarily have warm, gooey feeling for the ’12 Republicans. That being said, I don’t feel my political views are carved out of stone. They grow and develop as I do. I try to keep an open mind to both parties and their views. There are many intelligent people in my life whom I respect who are Republicans. Like my dad. I agree with him on a lot of issues, though we do sometimes get in heated debates over beers.

So I was excited to read the report to see how the GOP plans to reach out to voters like me. In addition to stating a lot of obvious facts like “young people use social media” and “our country is diversifying”, the report suggests Republicans reach out more to youth and women. As a young American woman, I found their recommendations condescending and disingenuous.

Take this suggestion about women, for example:

Republicans need to make a better effort at listening to female voters, directing their policy proposals at what they learn from women and communicating that they understand what a woman who is balancing many responsibilities is going through.

So far, so good…

Too often, female voters feel like no one listens to them. They feel like they are smart, engaged and strong decision makers but that their opinions are often ignored. Many female voters feel that Washington, D.C., is a city full of politicians that simply don’t listen and don’t understand what their daily lives are like. Female candidates are far better at connecting with these voters because they are more likely to understand them.

I don’t feel like a smart, engaged and strong decision maker. I AM a smart, engaged and strong decision maker. You can put a man or a woman in front of me, and they can say they understand me all they want, but unless the policies they support reflect that they understand my needs as a woman, I’m not voting for them.

The report’s approach to capture the youth vote is as insightful as its strategy for women voters. Some of the suggestions:

Republican leaders should participate in and actively prepare for interviews with The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, MTV and magazines such as People, UsWeekly, etc., as well as radio stations that are popular with the youth demographic.

and

Establish an RNC Celebrity Task Force of personalities in the entertainment industry to host events for the RNC and allow donors to participate in entertainment events as a way to attract younger voters.

They briefly mention the importance of gay rights to young voters, but seem more concerned about making the GOP seem as ‘cool’ as Obama.  Hate to break it to you, but you’re never going to be as cool as Obama (see picture below), so please stop trying to dazzle me with MTV and celebrities, and talk about policies that matter to me!

Cool-Obama-tie

The report states multiple times they are not a policy committee, but does say that Republicans need to embrace and champion immigration reform to win the Hispanic vote. I think the report would have spoken more to the intelligence of young Americans and women if it suggested Republicans address policy issues important to young Americans and women like equal pay or college loans.

I don’t think the report needs to go into all those policies in depth, but I think it would have been beneficial for it to mention that the reason many young Americans and women feel the Republican party is ‘out of touch’ and ‘scary’ is because a lot of their policies are out of touch and scary.

I feel like they’re trying to change the branding, but not the product. Having a cool, celebrity-endorsed box with a new message may be a great way to sell cereal, but I’m not a kid, and I don’t want lucky charms. As a woman, I want equal pay for equal work, and I don’t want the government telling me what to do with my body. As a young American, I want to be able to afford a good education and not go broke if I get sick.

For me, the whole report sounded more we need minority, women, and young voters to win so let’s make sure they feel we care about them, and not we represent minority, women, and young voters too so let’s make sure their interests are reflected in our policy. I half expected one of the suggestions to be when listening to young people and women make sure to nod your head a lot so it seems like you’re interested in what they’re saying and can sympathize.

I hope I’m wrong, and Republicans really are genuine in their attempt to diversify their party, especially when it comes to electing more women and minorities, but right now I still feel like they just don’t get it.

Featured image via Shutterstock; President Obama image via White House

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  1. How about HelloGiggles posts an article about where the Democratic party is going wrong? Neither party is perfect, but the clear bias on HelloGiggles to the Democratic party alienates a lot of readers.

    • Honey, when the Democratic Party stops representing their female constituents respectfully and advocating for them, HelloGiggles will be there. The bias isn’t based on political parties — it’s based on women writers advocating for women everywhere. If anything, Lee makes it clear that her politics are not biased and she’s open about them, and is clearly informed about both sides, coming from at least one Republican parent.

      • Well, as a woman and a Republican, I don’t feel oppressed. This article is one example of many on HelloGiggles that is biased. It is possible to be a conservative, Republican woman who is empowered and involved. I advocate for women, but I don’t feel that the way that the Democratic party advocates for me or represents me is somehow more correct than the way the Republican party views women. Also, do not call me honey. We aren’t in the South, you aren’t my mother, and I don’t believe that condescending pet names are really appropriate when attempting to have an adult discussion-even if it is on a blog.

        • As a contributor, Hello Giggles has always been incredibly open to what I want to write about, and they want posts written by readers too. If I would have pitched a piece about why the GOP gets a bad rap, but is really doing x,y, and z for women, they’d be open to it, but personally I haven’t seen anything that compels me to write that sort of piece. I guarantee you they’re not turning down pieces that criticize the Democratic Party or highlight the Republican Party in a good light based on any personal political affiliations. The reason it may seem like there’s a bias against Republicans is that on a lot of matters that regular contributors to the site care about, Republicans have voted against the interest of women. For example the Violence Against Women Act or access to birth control. I don’t know how you feel about those issue, but they do matter to a lot of women so I as a site geared towards women we write about them. And if you think there’s something we’re missing, I encourage you to submit a piece because the best policy comes from good dialogue. Thanks for your input! because I know it sounds a little cheesy, but I really do appreciate and take to heart other opinions.

          Lee Ziesche | 3/22/2013 08:03 pm
  2. Well said Lee…I felt the same way when I read the report. It seemed too concerned with re-branding the GOP than re-assessing policies or understanding why certain policies are especially unpopular with the population of voters who overwhelmingly voted for the other candidate.

  3. How insulting for voters is this report? Do Republicans really think they will get women’s vote by simply pretending to care and listen to us, poor women. It was perfectly said in the article “they’re changing the branding, but not the product”. But, hey, at least they’ve realized something was not working…

  4. One of the better posts I’ve read on hello giggles. Thank you.

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