Priebus: The Republican Party’s future
As the newly re-elected Republican Party chairman, I recognize Republicans must adapt to new political realities if we’re going to earn the trust of more American voters. So in the next two years, we’re going to take bold moves to renew our party, grow our ranks, and win more elections.
Here’s how we’re going to do it.
To start, we must take our message to every state and every community. As I told the Committee last week, we must stop looking at elections through the lens of “battleground states.” Being a “blue state” is not a permanent diagnosis. Republicans want to be a party for everyone, everywhere.
We must take the time to build stronger relationships in minority communities, urban centers, and college towns. We can’t expect voters to support us if they don’t know us or see us. Election year “outreach” is insufficient. We’re going to stop simply reaching out—and work on welcoming in as we build a permanent, lasting presence across the country.
In doing that, we’ll focus on the principles that unite us. Republicans are the party of opportunity and liberty, and freedom is an ever-fresh, revolutionary idea. It brought settlers to our shores and continues to attract newcomers to America. No one comes to the United States in search of a superior government bureaucracy. They come for individual freedom—the chance to start a new chapter, a new business, a new life.
Democrats are the party of big government, as President Obama made clear in his inaugural address. When he says he doesn’t believe “all society’s ills can be cured through government alone,” he’s admitting that he wants government to play a role in addressing all our problems. But a slow, bloated, out-of-date federal bureaucracy is not equipped to answer every challenge in an age of rapid, bottom-up, organic change. And if government is not limited, then opportunity will be.
So while Democrats offer the same old solutions to the same old problems, Republicans are the party that offers something new. We believe in equal opportunity for everybody. We want to build a real, dynamic economy driven by the free market—not one dependent on government’s redistribution machine.
We want student and parents empowered by equal opportunity in education, not restricted by unions. We want an open energy economy that harnesses all sources of power, not those selected by an activist Energy Department. And we want a healthcare system that respects doctor-patient decisions—not government dictates. We’re the party that says the individual can make better decisions than the bureaucrat.
But those principles mean nothing if voters don’t hear them. Too often, Republicans have let ourselves be defined by others before defining ourselves. No more. We’re taking our message of freedom and opportunity where it hasn’t been heard before.
The fact is, conservative governance works. That’s best exemplified by the thirty Republican governors in office today. They’re tackling the challenges that Washington Democrats avoid—balancing budgets, reforming education, streamlining government. States with Republican governors are creating more jobs, and in 2012, eight of the top 10 states in which to do business were led by Republicans. Our principles work in practice.
Republicans have our work cut out for us. At the RNC, we have to move quickly to invest in the best technology to train and equip our candidates, volunteers, and activists. Now that we live in an era of permanent politics, our party has to stop living nominee-to-nominee, campaign-to-campaign. We need a permanent, national field infrastructure.
Our job won’t be easy, but we’re motivated by the confidence that we have something better to offer America. This country deserves better than one-size-fits all government policies; we deserve the true equal opportunity that has long been the promise of America.
In the next election, I don’t know who will win—or even who will run. But I know this: Republicans will be a party people will want to join. We will be a party that says, “Follow us to a brighter future.” We won’t compromise our timeless principles, but we will make them relevant to our time and relatable to voters as we champion prosperity, success, and freedom for all.