Journalism Prof. Friedman: GOP Must 'Reach Out to Main Street'

Wednesday, 12 Mar 2014 07:09 PM

By Lisa Barron

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Despite the GOP victory in Florida's special House election on Tuesday, it's not entirely clear whether Republicans have come up with a winning strategy ahead of the November midterm elections, says Stony Brook School of Journalism professor Jon Friedman.

"They learned in the last election that they've got to change their strategy and their marketing pitch to Americans, and they're trying to, that's clear. But I'm not quite sure if we know yet what the message is," he told Newsmax TV's John Bachman and J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Wednesday.

As for what the GOP can do to sway non-Republicans to come to their banner, Friedman says it has to interact with a broad spectrum of the U.S. public.

"They have to reach out to Main Street. The Republicans have a bad image among ordinary Americans, if you will, and they've got to reach out more to people who are not necessarily on their side. It may be a difficult strategy for the Republicans to adopt because they are not used to it, but they have to do it," he said.

"Americans will embrace any candidate, male, female, ... who speaks to them and not at them. The Republicans have a history of speaking at the voters to the detriment, as we see in the last elections. The Republicans have gotten the bad rep in the mainstream media, for what it's worth, that they aren't in touch."

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Friedman, who writes "The Buzz" column for Newsmax.com, was previously a reporter on the media beat for MarketWatch.

In terms of what the future holds for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Friedman said that while Bridge-gate may have imploded his national ambitions, it is possible he could recover from the scandal.

"It's a fascinating question about this because America is a forgiving nation. We forgive almost anything on politicians, and Chris Christie made a huge faux pas as we all know it, and he knows it too. He's apologized from now until Sunday about it, but will it be enough?

"The question is, can Christie recover from this with a strategy to do things that people will say, 'oh, he's doing a good job, despite that terrible problem way back when.' It's up to him right now. The burden is on Chris Christie," he said.

"We've got to see in the next year, year and half, when Christie really cranks things up. Is he going to be the same damaged candidate he is right now or will he be an improved new candidate?

"Will he slim down, maybe literally? Will he have a different kind of message, like more accomplishments in his past, recent past, after this Bridge-gate? So, we really just have to wait and see."

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