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WASHINGTON: After months of infighting over what went wrong for them in the 2012 elections, US Republicans yesterday outlined a broad plan to attract racial minorities, women and young voters — and shed their image as a “narrow-minded, out-of-touch” party of “stuffy old men.”
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus used those words, and more, in an unusually frank assessment of the party’s failings in November, and what it must change before the 2014 congressional elections.
In remarks at the National Press Club in Washington, Priebus said Republican policies were sound, but he portrayed a conservative party that had been outmanoeuvred strategically and that had sometimes appeared intolerant of women, minorities and others in a heated campaign season.
“Our message was weak, our ground game was insufficient, we weren’t inclusive, we were behind in both data and digital (voter turnout efforts), and our (presidential) primary and debate process needed improvement,” he said.
He added that although Republicans have “sound” conservative principles, “we know that we have problems, we’ve identified them and we’re implementing the solutions to fix them”.
The blueprint released by the RNC calls for what amounts to a $10m marketing campaign aimed at women, minority and same-sex voters, constituencies that voted solidly for Democratic President Barack Obama over Republican Mitt Romney in November.
The growing Hispanic population in the United States is a particular concern to Republican leaders. The party’s own surveys have indicated that many members of that minority group and others see the Republican Party as unwelcoming.
The Republican plan also seeks to close what Priebus acknowledged is the Democrats’ significant technological advantage in identifying likely supporters and getting them to the polls. He said Republicans will make better use of technology to spread the party’s message, and will create an open data platform that will help provide research to their candidates.