Republicans Must Embrace Inclusion to Win Elections

Monday, 18 Aug 2014 11:24 AM

By Michael Reagan

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Regular readers know that I believe my father was right when he urged Republican leaders to be in favor of a “Big Tent” GOP that had room for a variety of viewpoints on the issues facing our nation.
A political party wins by inclusion, not by exclusion.
But even then there are certain bedrock, foundational issues that define a party. Even in a big tent organization the members must be in agreement on those issues, otherwise the party loses what makes it distinctive.
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And that’s why I’m a bit troubled by the rise of what the Reuters News Service calls the “Liberty Kids” in the Los Angeles County Republican Party.
The story features Amir Zendehnam, who is chairman of the West Los Angeles Central Committee and a member of the “Liberty Kids,” who took control of the county party in 2012. This group is a product of Ron and Rand Paul’s Libertarian expansion of the GOP.
Los Angeles County Republican Chairman Mark Vafiades feels “the Liberty group has brought youth and diversity to the party, and energy that has helped with campaigns.
"When I took over in 2012 the party was in debt, we had no paid staff, and the office was closed," he said. "We were a non-functioning party."
One of the Liberty group explains, “The party is a little bit out of touch, and they need a fresh view of things," said Calvin Lee, 27, whose strategy helped spur the Los Angeles board takeover after the party's losses in the 2012 elections.”
So far so good, Republicans skew older and adding youthful energy is good, but not at the expense of what it means to be a Republican.
Zendehnam is described as someone who “passionately supports marijuana legalization, same-sex marriage, abortion rights, and the Republican Party.” There is talk of submitting a resolution “declaring concern for war victims in Gaza at the next caucus meeting, which Vafiades said would run counter to the traditional Republican position on the Middle East.”
Other priorities for this younger generation include “world peace, ending the war on drugs, and addressing global warming.” They are mostly “anti-military,” although “they are more comfortable with Republicans' emphasis on freedom than Democrats' penchant for regulation.”
Which to me means the Liberty Kids are basically Democrats who are opposed to the use of red light cameras.
In a big tent there is certainly room for differing opinions on marijuana legalization, same-sex marriage, and the size of the Pentagon budget. But opposition to abortion — which is practically a sacrament for Democrats — is not an issue that should be up for grabs for Republicans.
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The Republican Party has the honorable record of being right on the two most fundamental moral issues that have faced our country: Slavery in the 19th century and abortion in the 20th and 21st. The Democrats were wrong on slavery and continue to be in error on abortion.
Any broadening of the base that removes that distinction is in danger of destroying the party. Excluding the Republican pro-life base is hardly a recipe for future success.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation and chairman of the League of American Voters. Mike is an in-demand speaker with Premiere. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.

© Mike Reagan

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