It’s Time for Republicans to Reimagine and Reinvent Themselves
Assuming the two Georgia Republicans get elected to the Senate in January, we’ve dodged a bullet for the time being. However, I believe the Republicans absolutely need to boost their strength, popularity and grow into a greater force over the next two-four years to thwart the destructive efforts of their hostile adversaries over the long term. How can they leverage winning the House and Senate in the next election and set the pace and probability for future victories?
While the Republicans just made some impressive gains in the House (especially with new women elected), I believe it’s vital for the party to reinvigorate and creatively transform itself to better lock in current supporters while getting lots more minorities, younger people, independents and wavering Democrats on their side. It won’t be easy when structural and behavioral change is warranted. Here are my recommendations:
One: Fight like hell. This is no time to be conciliatory, appeasing, timid, naïve, passive, or especially compromising when the radical, “take-no-prisoners” side of Democrats want to take away our freedoms, squash the Constitution and strive toward a one-party dictatorship with a socialist/communist agenda. The GOP needs to unrelentingly counter these efforts and do everything in their power to vigorously fight, disrupt and aggressively resist the onslaught of the far left and their supporters. At this desperate time, we can’t afford the slightest hint of business as usual. Those dangerous, delusional, and defiant revisionists are now true enemies of the state and our cherished traditions and way of life. Republicans must be on a smart, well-executed strategic war footing because of the unprecedented situation we are facing now. This requires a full coordinated series of knockout counterpunches. It’s take the gloves off time, get the wrecking ball rolling, and release the Kraken.
Two: Republicans need to develop and communicate a detailed grand vision of what America will look like over the next decade. Done right, this compelling, captivating vision with big and bold ideas, supported by a comprehensive narrative and plan (to reach the vision), will create vital excitement, publicity, and commitment and enable the vision to stand out from anything the foolish and mediocre Democrats espouse. Whether a comprehensive, flashy Hollywood-style video or full-blown multimedia production, this vision will highlight the new impressive innovative leadership from Republicans.
Three: Ramp up a powerful counter-propaganda campaign. Republicans cannot continue to idly sit by as the Democrats endlessly bombard and pound the public with the image, perception, and accusation of Republicans being a party of the elite, rich, and “privileged” whites. They must smartly overturn the steady barrage of narratives portraying them as racists, bigots, homophobes, sexists, obstructionists and more. Whoever controls information will control mass perception. Republicans have to get ultra-creative to find and develop expanded channels of communication while fighting the established mass media, internet and Silicon Valley, all of whom have conspired to dominate the false, endless propaganda campaign of the dark Left.
Four: Rebrand and enhance the GOP’s image. With younger voters and minorities, Republicans can have a stodgy, nondescript image as mostly older white males who want to defend and embrace a status quo that seems outdated and contrary to their needs and values. The term “conservative” (which I proudly am), while mostly used to describe patriotic values and policies, can often have an unintended negative (and inaccurate) connotation that Republicans are opposed to change and innovation. They see “progressives” as those who focus on positive new outcomes and social reform. As one young university student shared with me, “If you’re young, in college or a self-described social activist, it’s not cool to be a conservative.”
But, if the Republicans strive toward being a party of creative, bold and daring ideas, fast-forward results, widespread innovation and inclusive leadership focused on fixing chronic problems (for everyone), then that image will boost their “cool” factor. Additionally, if Republicans can eventually be seen as the righteous mavericks (maybe even rebels) and innovators in terms of getting things done by “fighting the good fight” and improving the quality of life for all, their appeal and role can get a real boost.
Five: Aggressively recruit new, committed voters. Trump has done an excellent job of getting more African American, minority voters, and others who traditionally have voted Democrat. But now, Republicans have to actively go after and educate even more of those who have a false perception of the Republicans. I asked several black professionals why they remained Democrat in spite of their being taken for granted and having little done for them. Each basically replied something like, “In all my years, I’ve never seen a Republican politician who came to our community to talk with us, really listen to what we have to say and try to sway us.” The Republicans have a convincing story to tell, but, unless they get out there in these communities and interact with and engage people on a personal level, these voters will continue to feel neglected and shunned and stay with the Democrats.
Six: Dare I say change leadership at the top. Mitch McConnell has had a rich and impressive career and done much to contribute to the Republican’s success. Now, however, it’s time for a new, younger, more vibrant (even charismatic) leader who has bold ideas and imaginative strategies to fight the elite left while proposing even more visionary ways to “Make and Keep America Great.” Someone who, as a refined communicator, projects sensitivity, compassion and energy, can garner more to the Republican side.
There will be those hardened, recalcitrant Republicans who believe change is either unnecessary or too risky. I believe it’s risky not to change one’s image, policies, and leadership when faced with a party who has the unwavering support of the media, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, BLM, Wall Street, and rich contributors and supporters and whose full thrust is to remake and destroy America as we know it. Perhaps Socrates has put it well, "The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." And that’s what I propose.
Ray Anthony is an author, keynote speaker and consultant on innovation, leadership and organizational change and lives in The Woodlands, Texas.