Another post mortem on the election? Yes, but this one comes from the College Republican National Committee and it is absolutely brutal on the party.
The 95-page study, which looked at the party's views on social and economic issues, as well as its messaging and outreach, echoes a March report on the election debacle issued by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, which presented a devastating assessment of the party's current state of affairs.
But in some ways the new report from inside the GOP tent is even more scathing and ominous -- since it comes from the party's next generation.
Titled the "Grand Old Party for a Brand New Generation," the report is sharply critical of the GOP on several fronts. The study slams some Republicans' almost singular focus on downsizing Big Government and cutting taxes; candidates' use of offensive, polarizing rhetoric; and the party's belly-flop efforts at messaging and outreach, even as the report presents a way forward and, at times, strikes an optimistic tone.
In the report, the young Republican activists acknowledge their party has suffered significant damage in recent years. A sampling of the critique on:
Gay marriage: "On the 'open-minded' issue ... [w]e will face serious difficulty so long as the issue of gay marriage remains on the table."
Hispanics: "Latino voters ... tend to think the GOP couldn't care less about them."
Perception of the party's economic stance: "We've become the party that will pat you on your back when you make it, but won't offer you a hand to help you get there."
Big reason for the image problem: The "outrageous statements made by errant Republican voices."
Words that up-for-grabs voters associate with the GOP: "The responses were brutal: closed-minded, racist, rigid, old-fashioned."
I can already hear many commenters sharpening their pencils, ready to go after the youngsters for being RINOs. But the kids have correctly identified the problem. It isn't "tweaking the message" that will win back voters, it is a change in tone and attitude. One can stand on principle and still try to be inclusive, tolerant, and welcoming. It's a no brainer - except that most in the party haven't figured it out yet.