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The Blue & Gray Press | June 24, 2018

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GOP Must Change to Make Progress

GOP Must Change to Make Progress

By DREW FREAKLEY

It’s done. The election is over and we can finally put our torches and pitchforks down. It is time to breathe easy. We can all go back to not caring about the big wigs in Washington and finally get our Pinterest pages all figured out, right?

Wrong. The election is over, but things are just starting to heat up.

For years, I was a die-hard Republican. I was attracted to their ideals of state’s rights, less government oversight and the tradition of the “Grand Old Party.” However, when the Republicans nominated former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as their presidential candidate, the veil pulled back and the disillusionment set in.

The GOP’s power is dwindling. What I once thought was the monolith of American conservative politics turned so clearly into a reactionary retreat toward a prejudiced approach to civil liberties. A retreat so far, it reminded me of the 1950s.

For my like-minded republicans, the question is: where do we go from here?

There is plenty of finger pointing happening in the Republican Party right now as to who’s to blame for losing the election. If Karl Rove ever climbs out from the rock he is living under, he probably wouldn’t be able to give a coherent answer as to why President Barack Obama cleaned Mitt Romney’s clock in the election, but as the architect of former President George W. Bush’s 2000 and 2004 elections, he assured the Neoconservatives they would have the White House this election as well.

The answer, as I see it, is rather simple. America is not a far-right, super-conservative nation. We are, largely, a centrist country that probably leans a tad to the left.

In order to move forward, the GOP must make some changes.

The Republican Party cannot have a platform against civil liberties. This last election, Obama commanded the minority, female and young person vote, mopping the floor with Gov. Romney. The Obama campaign had a strategy to paint the Republicans as women-hating, anti-homosexual, rich white men, and it worked.

No longer can these types of platforms be thrust onto the political stage. It’s time for “Rockefeller Republicanism” to take root.

Rockefeller Republican is an antiquated term for moderate Republicans.

These are the Republicans that favor social issues like same-sex marriage, gay adoption and access to, and federal funding for, abortion.

They champion more environmental regulation, measure to counter climate change, and more federal spending on public education.

They also support gun control laws, fewer restrictions on legal immigration and, for some, drug policy reform.

These are all issues that are important to today’s voters, as well as issues that cost the Republicans the White House.

If we cannot accept these basic ideas, for which so many Americans turned to Obama, the GOP could forever lose its place in American politics.