Sunday, December 23, 2012

Thomas Friedman documents the "reality gap" between the Republican base the rest of the electorate in The New York Times.

Republican politicians today have a choice: either change your base by educating and leading G.O.P. voters back to the center-right from the far right, or start a new party that is more inclusive, focused on smaller but smarter government and market-based, fact-based solutions to our biggest problems.
But if Republicans continue to be led around by, and live in fear of, a base that denies global warming after Hurricane Sandy and refuses to ban assault weapons after Sandy Hook — a base that would rather see every American’s taxes rise rather than increase taxes on millionaires — the party has no future. It can’t win with a base that is at war with math, physics, human biology, economics and common-sense gun laws all at the same time.
Friedman's solution?
The G.O.P. today needs its own D.L.C. The Democratic Leadership Council was founded by a group of Democratic governors and activists, led by Bill Clinton, in 1985 to lead the party back to the center from a failing leftward course that had resulted in it being repeatedly shut out of the presidency, except after Watergate (from 1968 to 1992). I asked Clinton’s pollster, Stan Greenberg, what Republicans could learn from the Clinton/D.L.C. experience.
"There is a lot of pain,” said Greenberg. “You can’t change the party without pain. You can’t just make some head-fakes to Hispanics.” The D.L.C., he noted, started by building an organization over 10 years and by running more centrist Democrats “in the primaries.” It didn’t just wait to pivot to the center in the general election.

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