Tough talk: Edward Hudgins says struggling GOP must evolve on immigration, embrace Tea Party
Edward Hudgins, a senior scholar at The Atlas Society, pulled no punches addressing the real problems faced by the Republican Party. His refreshing candor and substantive speech at the International Students for Liberty Conference highlighted the GOP’s dwindling base and out-of-touch messaging in the wake of the Left’s brazen victory to reelect President Obama in 2012.
He advocated that for future GOP victories, Republicans need to include the Tea Party, push social issues aside, and reform its immigration position.
Hudgins made no effort to dampen his tone in masking the truth- The Republican Party is in deep trouble, and if it does not identify and seek to correct its weaknesses, the Left will continue to triumph on the election battlegrounds and we will continue to see a rise in statism and a loss in liberty.
The Left has not changed its belief system in more than 25 years and the discourse of American politics has moved fundamentally to the right. During that time, our economic state of affairs has allowed the Left to assert its case for socialism more decisively, and they have gained traction as a result.
Here are the facts:
The Republican Party is standing strong with Non-Hispanic Whites, with the last three presidential elections gaining them just short of 60 percent of the vote. But they are rapidly decreasing in population at a pace that will make them only 47 percent of the country’s population by 2050.
Hispanics make up a community that is rapidly increasing in population ratio at a pace that will make them nearly 30 percent of the entire country by 2050. And the Republican Party is losing this crucial voting bloc.
George W. Bush won 44 percent of the Hispanic vote, McCain won 31 percent, and Romney won 27 percent in the 2004, 2008, and 2012 presidential races, respectively.
In other words, the GOP’s core demographic is declining in numbers, and the demographic that is increasing, is becoming increasingly disenfranchised with the GOP’s attitude.
Evangelicals make up half the GOP’s voting bloc in the primaries, and Republicans are steadily gaining those voters. However, the median age for evangelicals is very high.
Among 18-29 year olds, Bush won 43 percent, with McCain winning only 32 percent and Romney grabbing 37 percent.
For young people, only 46 percent react positively to the word “capitalism” while 47 percent had a negative reaction. This contrasts deeply with the rest of the nation, which is 50 percent to 40 percent respectively.
By contrast, the word “socialism” is given positive reaction by 49 percent and negative reaction by only 43 percent, also contrasting with the rest of the nation which is 60 to 31 percent.
The Republican Party cannot survive this state of reality. Its only choice is to adapt with the times and work constructively to foster a change in attitude. Letting the country proceed in the direction the Left is taking it until it collapses will not endear the Republican Party or the principles of conservatism to anyone. It will merely pave the way for the rise of totalitarianism, like what is currently happening in Greece.
The solution, according to Hudgins, is threefold:
1. The Republican Party must evolve on immigration and must reach out to immigrants, especially entrepreneurs and small business owners… the people whose fiscally conservative values resonate with ours.
2. The Tea Party and the Republican’s libertarian wing must be included, but it must put its candidates through a much tougher vetting process. It cannot allow candidates like former Nevada Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle (R-NV), former Delaware Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell (R-DE), former congressman Todd Akin (R-MO), and Indiana Senate nominee Richard Mourdock (R-IN), candidates with sound fiscally conservative credentials but poor socially conservative ones, prevail in the primaries.
3. The Republican Party must put the principles of social conservatives on the farthest back burner it can. Social conservatives must become a minority, the way they were under Reagan. They must realize that they cannot and will not win, and will only stand as a thorn in the side of liberty and prosperity. Libertarians must ensure this by merging with the Party.