There is room at the Republican table…

Posted by David A. Peterson on 24. November 2008 in Message |

Over the weekend I read an article written by the conservative columnist Kathleen Parker from the Washington Post. The last line of the article read “Either the Republican Party needs a new base – or the nation may need a new party.”Lately we have been bombarded with this type of message from the left, center, and right of American politics. What’s wrong with the Republican Party? What happened to its base? How is it possible that it not only lost the presidential election but the Congress as well?

Looking for a scapegoat Kathleen Parker drops this loss squarely on the most visible but rarely seen evangelical right. The evangelical right has been vilified for years. Ms Parker isn’t just standing in line she is jumping on the bandwagon to condemn this group. She actually goes so far as to say that the problem with the party is “G-O-D.”

I would argue that the Republican Party doesn’t need less God fearing, church going constituents it needs more God fearing, church going constituents.

Currently the Republican Party has two major bases of constituents. They are the evangelical right who are easy to find, target, and mobilize, and the pro-business group who are a subset of a much wider God fearing, church going group.

I do agree with Ms Parker that the GOP needs to take a step back and reassess its base, but I don’t agree that they need to actually change the base. The GOP needs to expand the base using the current evangelicals as the catalyst to help bring in other religions.

My reasoning is that evangelicals by themselves don’t have the shear numbers to carry the GOP to victory in a national election. If Republicans are said to be the party of the God fearing church going crowd then it needs to be more inclusive. The party needs more Catholics, Protestants, Methodist, Baptist, Mormon, Muslim, and Jews.

The Republican Party needs more God, not less. All God fearing religious groups have one thing in common – GOD.

Republicans need to step back and ask… How is it possible that the party most vilified because of its religious roots can’t get the Hispanic or Jewish votes? You can’t argue with the fact that both Hispanics and Jews are extremely God fearing groups.

The Pew Research Center says that 57% of Hispanics call themselves Democrats while only 23% align themselves with Republicans. The Pew Research Center also says that 78% of Jewish voters chose President-elect Obama over Senator John McCain. Why is that?

Certainly our current economic mess didn’t help the GOP this year. But even the current economic mess doesn’t explain why Republicans can’t get the other God fearing, church going religious voters to cast a vote in their favor.

Evangelicals want to advance their social causes, but all religious groups have social causes they would like to promote. Again, all of these groups start with God. In the future the Republican Party needs to be more inclusive and it needs to find a message to advance that most if not all religious groups can agree on.

What can all religious groups agree on to advance – God’s love and God’s mandate of helping the poor, the homeless, and the less fortunate. This is something that all religious groups do everyday. The Republican Party needs to be at the forefront of helping the faith based organizations do their job.

The economic mess has created such a crisis that all religious groups will need to put their differences aside and work together in their communities. Republicans need to be at the forefront of bringing these groups together, including them in the solution, and giving all the faith based groups a seat at the Republican table.

Ms Parker got this one wrong. The Republican’s don’t need a new base. They need a more inclusive God fearing, church going base to succeed in future elections.

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