WILL NEW BLOOD HELP THE GOP?
RAR Staff Writer Rachel Baily Talks GOP Re-Branding at CRNC Annual Convention
By George Scoville
Rising Belmont University senior Rachel Baily (Political Science) recently told CBS News at the College Republican National Committee’s annual convention in Washington, DC that she’s hopeful that new blood will refresh the GOP for years to come (read the full story with embedded video on CBS News‘ “Political Hotsheet” by clicking here). Baily, a Hershey, PA native and campaign staffer at Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s (R-TN 7th) District Office in Franklin, TN, understands the importance of using new methods for reaching out to young voters. She also understands that the GOP must broaden its base if it is to survive another barrage of electoral misfortune like that of November 2008.
“Obama was able to personalize things for people on the campaign trail (and since assuming office) by using daily emails, text alerts, and other things of that nature. People feel like they have a real connection with him. Republicans are beginning to use e-campaign strategies like this, and I think this is key for Republicans. The GOP needs to find ways and create new venues for young people to get involved in party activities,” said Baily. It is difficult, though, to estimate how successful these strategies are, or will be. Will success be measured only in electoral returns? Or will we look to thinks like participation in political campaigns or civic groups?
The nation-wide Tax Day Tea Party protests on April 15 of this year evidence the effective online organizational capacity of the Right. But before Republicans claim e-campaign success, they must remember that they are competing with a Libertarian Party that has gained considerable traction with voters in the oft-coveted 18-29 age group. There seems to be a gaping divide, both in message and mechanism, between top-down, big-money, Old Guard Republicans, and a vibrant, young online activist community, known as the Rightroots, which doesn’t have the means to reshape electoral strategy or platform messaging. The GOP rewards its members for service to the party – not for the quality of innovative solutions proposed or the achievement of national (as opposed to party) goals.
When asked whether the GOP should consider re-branding its platform, Baily said she has had trouble deciding what to do about the content of GOP messaging. “Republicans might need to consider moving the party’s platform to the center if they want to include moderate Democrats, and they need to work across the aisle,” she said. “Everybody is calling us the ‘Party of No’ right now. [Republicans] don’t need to give up on their values, but they need to appear like they’re working in bipartisan fashion.”
Rachel Baily is a Staff Writer for the Right Aisle Review and an active member of the Belmont College Republicans. You can view her editorials by clicking here.
George Scoville is an alumnus of Belmont University (’09) with degrees in Philosophy and Political Science. He is pursuing a Master of Public Policy at American University’s School of Public Affairs.