The New York Times has an interesting article in this Sunday’s magazine, Can the Republicans be Saved From Obsolescence?
There is much to learn from the article about how much more open Democrats are to the digital era, how insular Republican leadership is, and how Obama won the war the Romney campaign thought it was winning.
There’s no reason to close our eyes to our problems, and we should learn from our mistakes. One of those lessons is that Republican digital leadership may be beyond repair and it may be time for a complete rethink.
But beware articles like this one, it’s not meant to inform and enlighten, but to reinforce negative stereotypes of Republicans as needing to become Junior Democrats in order to win.
The best example is the lessons we are supposed to learn from two focus groups, which held negative views of Republicans similar to the views voiced every day at The New York Times, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, The Washington Post, etc. But note that these were two groups of people who voted for Obama (emphasis mine):
One afternoon last month, I flew with Anderson to Columbus, Ohio, to watch her conduct two focus groups. The first consisted of 10 single, middle-class women in their 20s; the second, of 10 20-something men who were either jobless or employed but seeking better work. All of them voted for Obama but did not identify themselves as committed Democrats and were sufficiently ambivalent about the president’s performance that Anderson deemed them within reach of the Republicans.
The negative (and inaccurate) conclusions of the group about mean and nasty Republicans are used to draw the conclusion that Republicans are actually mean and nasty.
But isn’t this a circular conclusion, isn’t the problem that inaccurate and highly politicized portraits of Republicans dominate the media; why does this mean that Republicans need to become more like Democrats, as opposed to getting the message out better and fighting the relentless media smears.
Sarah Palin almost killed Gabby Giffords, right? Republicans want you to die slowly, right? Black Republicans are tokens and used to hide Republican racism, right?
If the Republican brand and ideology are so toxic to their core, how is it we do so well at the state and local level? Perhaps it’s because the mainstream media does not pay as much attention to state and local races, and therefore Republicans at that level are not demonized daily into gross caricatures. But raise your head up to the federal level, and WATER!
Obama received 65,899,625 votes and Romney received 60,928,981 votes. The vote gap was much closer in congressional races. Those vote differences signal a challenge ahead, but hardly signal an obsolete Republican Party.
There’s something which does not connect in these dots the NYT author wants us to draw. Yes, we need better outreach to younger and minority voters, and yes, we need to have a more open and fluid structure, but those points do not equate to becoming Democrats. If that’s the solution, then the solution is worse than the problem.
The author gave away his game, for anyone who read the article carefully, which was to portray Republicans as burnt extremist toast:
Nor during the [Lee] Atwater era, when Ronald Reagan was president, did the party’s most extreme wing intimidate other Republicans into legislating like extremists themselves, thereby further tarnishing the party’s image.
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