Reforming the Republican Party

By: Caitlin Robertson, Lucas Mueller and Larissa Wurm

“You don’t learn anything when you win. You learn when you lose.” –Grover Norquist

After any election, the “losing” party is going to do some re-evaluating. Currently, that would be the Republican Party. Throughout our time in D.C. a number of speakers have touched directly on that subject.

Stephen Hess, from the Brookings Institute, talks with students.

Photo by Noelle Smith. Stephen Hess, from the Brookings Institution, talks with students.

Grover Norquist as a guest speaker in Thursday's academic lecture.

Photo by Noelle Smith. Grover Norquist as a guest speaker in Thursday’s academic lecture.

So here it is: times are changing. Circumstances are constantly changing. If the Republican Party wants to stay relevant, they are going to have to make some changes as well. For example, in this election, Republicans did poorly with the minority vote. The Hispanic population is growing, especially in states that are typically “red,” and to keep them from turning “blue,” Republicans will have to take on a different approach – the demographics are going to be constantly changing. There needs to be a way to win over a majority of all types of demographics.

(To read more about this discussion in Texas, click here.)

In today’s academic session, Grover Norquist discussed the idea of the government being completely hands off – on both fiscal and social issues. He believes in limited government; you, as an American, have a set of rights. You have a right to spend your money the way you want to, practice whatever religion you want to and send your kids to whatever school you want to. He likes to call this idea the party of “people who just want to be left alone.”

Stephen Hess from the Brookings Institute, with whom we spoke on Wednesday, has gone so far as to refer to himself as a “RINO” – a Republican In Name Only – because he is worried about the direction of the party. He doesn’t agree with current party’s ideas and policies. Chances are (and according to the results of the election), he’s not alone.

From listening to guest speakers, it is obvious changes are going to have to be made.

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