The prospects of the Republican Party winning elections and governing the country are undermined by "the persistent belief of many voters that its candidates are out of touch and do not care about people like them," veteran Republican strategist Karl Rove wrote in The Wall Street Journal
The party's future depends on the success of reform conservatives to put forth their new vision on how to grow the economy and foster upward mobility, Rove wrote in a commentary. He cited Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio as among the GOP reformers.
Reform-minded conservatives want to apply "conservative principles to 21st-century challenges" such as college education costs, healthcare, and tax reform, Rove wrote. Reformers want to think afresh how to protect the vulnerable and make work a viable path out of poverty, he said.
The conservative reformers can influence the midterm elections by sketching out their vision. Over the long haul, the GOP's future requires the reformers to expand on their ideas and mobilize support within the party for them, Rove wrote.
Ryan has been investigating what goes into making antipoverty programs successful. His data will be made available in a forthcoming book and could serve as a conservative blueprint for achieving upward mobility, according to Rove.
Rubio has focused on how to expand the economy. He is probing the nexus between government research and ideas that private companies can bring to market. Rubio wants to push investment by simplifying the tax code, energize job creation by moderating federal constraints, and encourage trade by removing barriers, Rove wrote.
Sen. Mike Lee of Utah has a powerful message about how the liberal "war on poverty" has undermined family and community. He has also "proposed a package of reforms to taxes, welfare, higher education, transportation and federal comp-time regulations that hamper worker flexibility," Rove wrote.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush have similarly focused on alleviating poverty, according to Rove.
Most GOP governors embrace Rubio's idea to combine the maze of federal anti-poverty programs into a single fund that would be administered at the state level, Rove wrote.
Republican governors who have come from humble backgrounds — Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, Ohio's John Kasich, Michigan's Rick Snyder and Wisconsin's Scott Walker— have offered leadership on reducing poverty by growing the economy, Rove wrote.
Reform-minded GOP elected officials have been backed by reform-minded conservative writers and intellectuals, and by periodicals such as National Affairs and think tanks like The Manhattan Institute, according to Rove.
All are united behind the need to "broaden opportunity, increase prosperity for every American, restore the value of work, and strengthen markets, competition and choice," Rove wrote.
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