The Party of Old White Guys Changes Its Look

A new RNC program tries to showcase Republican diversity

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Josh Reynolds / ASSOCIATED PRESS

New Hampshire state representative Marilinda Garcia speaks during the Republican National Committee summer meeting in Boston on Aug. 15, 2013

Nine months after Barack Obama’s edge with young people, minority groups and women carried him to re-election, the Republican National Committee is beginning a new campaign to showcase the diversity in the GOP ranks.

Launched last week, the RNC’s Rising Stars initiative highlights the next generation of the Republican Party, a group of activists, authors, elected officials and candidates that combats the GOP’s homogenous image. “The Republican Party has gotten a stereotype as being populated mostly with old white men,” New Hampshire state representative Marilinda Garcia, one of the RNC’s Rising Stars, tells TIME. “The point is to highlight people such as myself who are not old white men, along with other young people, and let us be the messengers.”

The initiative will tout about four new up-and-coming Republicans every three months. In addition to Garcia, the first batch of Rising Stars includes T.W. Shannon, Oklahoma’s first African-American speaker of the house and a protégé of former Representative J.C. Watts; conservative writer Scott Erickson; and Karin Agness, the founder of a group for conservative college women.

(MORE: Field of Drama: Why Iowa Could Decide the Future of the GOP)

Putting new faces on TV is just one element of the Republican rebranding project touched off by an election in which Obama dominated demographics like women, voters under 30, Hispanics and African Americans. “Obviously at the aftermath of the 2012 election, the party realized that we have a lot of work to do,” says RNC spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores. In addition to new investments in digital technology and outreach to minority communities, the RNC currently has over 150 field workers talking to voters, Flores says.

But it may not be easy for the GOP to make inroads with these groups in time for 2016 — particularly as some Republicans sidetrack the rebranding campaign with inflammatory remarks, like Iowa Congressman Steve King’s comment that many immigrant children have “calves the size of cantaloupes because they’ve been hauling 75 lb. of marijuana across the desert.”

“We’ve been a little bit crippled in the past by some of the louder voices that have not put things very nicely and said things that are frankly offensive,” says Garcia, a Hispanic who was first elected to the New Hampshire state legislature at 23. At a town-hall-style meeting in Boston on Thursday, she joined the other Rising Stars to discuss ways to reach out to a more diverse slice of the American population.

(MORE: Christie’s Tough Talk Shows GOP Divide)

“The liberal media would have you believe that there’s nobody that looks like the people on this stage that have an R behind their name. And that’s just not the case,” said Oklahoma’s Shannon, who suggested that the party should stress its belief in limited government and personal responsibility, two values that he learned from his local African-American church.

Agness, the founder and president of the Network of Enlightened Women, argued that the GOP would benefit by tackling the problem of liberal bias in universities. Discouraged by the lack of conservative outlets for women at the University of Virginia, she founded her own book club that has since grown to 20 campus chapters across the country. The organization creates a place on campus for these students to discuss their take on political and gender issues. “Women are not just some unified voting bloc that’s going to vote liberal every time, because it is more complicated than that,” Agness said.

For the RNC, highlighting the party’s diversity to voters is a smart move. But the effort to remedy Republican struggles with traditionally Democratic voting blocs may not pay off in time for 2016, when the GOP may face, in Hillary Clinton, a powerful candidate who would be bidding to become the first female President. “You don’t change an image like that or a social composition like that in a year or two years,” says Alex Keyssar, a professor of history and social policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School. “It will take time and real change for that to happen. I think we’re talking about a project that’s probably a project of a decade.”

MORE: GOP Fights to Rebrand the Party of No

439 comments
jinbailong
jinbailong

The White Liberal motto is: "Embrace diversity AT ALL COSTS, even if it means compromising one's own safety and standard of living, and even when non-Whites put their own racial interests first."


Why are so many Whites celebrating diversity as they slowly become minorities in nations founded and built by Whites? White taxpayer money is being used to help fund diversity. In other words, Whites are paying to replace themselves by non-Whites. 


Upshot? Whites are paying to become a minority! (read INSANITY)


And they are celebrating it!


Do non-Whites flock to White majority nations because Whites usually build the most desirable societies?


Is every race capable of building/maintaining a 1st world nation? (e.g. Detroit) Ever thought minorities are priveleged to live in White majority societies?


What's stopping minorities using their increasing wealth and power to promote their own interests at the expense of Whites? Minorities WILL NOT reciprocate the compassion and tolerance Whites have shown. (this cannot be emphasized enough)


I can't wait to see the look on White Liberal faces when Whites become a minority. Their multi-culti, Utopian dreams will come crashing down around them.


The greatest civilizations were built on recognizing people are not equal. Equality is a social construct. Race is a biological reality.

JaredHeath
JaredHeath

I know precious few non-white Republicans.  Those that I do know are all very affluent minorities who are Republican for business reasons.

fitty_three
fitty_three

If anyone cares to, they can look back to about comment #200 where @dakinsky, in all his shortsighted "wisdom", drives off a conservative black American voter.

It was amazing to watch it unfold!

Of course @mrbomb13, @ahandout and others will try to pretend it never happened.

And @dakinsky is right, it isn't as important as it used to be, but this country is changing and you GOP idiots are shooting each others' grandmothers trying to battle for control of a shriveling, sniveling, insane, and dysfunctional party.

I'm watching you swirl ccw down the toilet, and enjoying every moment of it!

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

"The Party of Old White Guys??"

Give me a break.

Democrats and Republicans have to stop this ridiculous notion that Race matters so (damn) much, because it simply does not.  Appealing to race and racial biases distracts attention from the Very Serious Issues facing America today.

If anything, focusing on racial demographics invites modern-day discrimination, by ludicrously exalting the minorities, and shamelessly castigating the White majority. 

In the year 2013, TIME Magazine and other outlets should be encouraging the public to consider larger issues, and to ignore these ridiculous race-based digressions in the national conversation.

SukeMadiq
SukeMadiq

A a dog and pony show for the GOP to trot out its black guy and a couple women.

agui
agui

You can say it anyway you like or dress as anything you like but stupid ideas are just that: stupid ideas. Repubs aren't hurting because they're white, they're hurting because nothing coming out of their mouth makes logical sense and been Latin/Black/Woman doesn't make your ideas any better. There might also be a backlash against these new faces because most logical people that belong to these races might look at these people as self haters. The only phrase that comes to mind is "stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself..."

JudithSquires
JudithSquires

They are trying to change their image, but it's nothing but window dressing.  When Rush Limbaugh leads your party, any attempt to appeal to women, minorities and young people is simply a mirage. 

Greggo88
Greggo88

Isn't this just another form of affirmative action? But I guess this one is OK. Hypocrites.

Nelson
Nelson

The younger people believe in the classic Republican/conservative ideals; work hard, be ethical, protect each other, don't tell other people what to do, judge people on their merit. (unionization was created by conservatives to protect the little guy). But the current GOP leadership is about take advantage, make money any way possible, destroy collectives, dictate other people's religion and sex life, judge people on their language and skin color.

The young people are waging an admirable fight but they're going to lose bc the crazies are in power internally, and any benefits they bring e.g. more voters and funds, only gives power to the crazies. They'd far be better off leaving and forming a separate party, eg the Real Conservatives. It's the only credible group that can take on Democrats.

CameronRobert
CameronRobert

The Republicans lost the election because they're bigots, extremists, liars, religious fanatics, corrupt, misogynistic, homophobic, racist, xenophobic, favor the rich over there the middle and lower class, care more about corporations than the environment, mismanage the economy, are anti-union, can't keep church and state separate, can't work with other countries and international organizations, won't pass reasonable gun control laws, practice the politics of division, appoint right-wing extremist ideologues to the courts, are war mongers, create huge deficits and debt, etc.

jilli.brown
jilli.brown

Hate to use an old adage, but in this case it works...you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig.

SteveSmith3
SteveSmith3

Let me get this straight Romney got something like 47.1 per cent of the popularr vote-old white men?  But you are correct we as a rule aren't as often homosexual poor and in need of an abortion, etc...what amazes me today is the lack of understanding of how the founding fathers structured our system of government....for change to be very slow...this is how you stay out of dictatorships...but when you listen to rap music all day what do you expect?



KahnKeller
KahnKeller

hummm... you can coat the republican national platform in chocolate.... but people will still not eat it... the problem is the platform... and the stupid people that spout the party line.... not much chance of changing until the current generation dies out....

valentine.godoflove
valentine.godoflove

IN CAPS......SO THE SENIOR CITIZENS CAN SEE/READ BETTER......

SINCE 1996......WHEN I OBSERVED THE REPUBLICANS EVER SINCE IN CLOSE RANGE......THEY HAVE BEEN TRYING TO CONNECT WITH THE BLACKS AND HISPANICS......

I TOLD THEM .....IN A SPEECH.....THAT YOU DO NOT SEND A WHITE MAN IN A SUIT......WHO TALKS NORMAL TO SEE THE BROTHERS........YOU HAVE TO SEND SOMEBODY.....WHO IS.....HIP......COOL.....AND KNOWS HOW TO SAY.....MTHRTRUCKER......REAL WELL !!!......LOL......LIKE RICHARD PRYOR.....AND TODAY....THE HIPSNICS AND THE BROTHERS REVERE......TONY MONTANA.....AL PACINO .....IN SCARFACE....

THE HISPANICS AND THE BLACKS.....UNDERSTAND FREE ENTERPRISE.......THEY DO NOT WANT TO BE TOLD WHAT TO DO BY NEO-COMMUNISTS LIKE THE NOW DEMOCRATS LEFTWING RADICAL LIBERALS AND ENVIRONMENTAL WACKOS.......AFTER ALL.....THEY ARE WARRIORS......THEY UNDERSTAND .....BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE.

THE HISPANICS AND THE BLACKS WHO COME TO THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.....TALK LIKE WHITES......THEY HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO TALK ......STREET......THEN YOU CAN GET THE TRUST AND WOTES OF THE HISPANICS AND THE BROTHERS.

VALENTINE.....POLITICAL HISTORIAN......COMEDIAN.....LOL

aztecian
aztecian

@mrbomb13 pure fear mongering...ridiculous...go back to your country club you one percent-er.

xian
xian

@Nelson where did you get this fantasy that conservatives were behind the labor movement?

bobcn
bobcn

@Nelson

"...work hard, be ethical, protect each other, don't tell other people what to do, judge people on their merit. (unionization was created by conservatives to protect the little guy)."

With those ideals why do you need another group to take on the Democrats?  Most Democrats share those ideals with you.  Instead of taking on the Democrats perhaps you should consider becoming one.

CTYankee3rd
CTYankee3rd

@CameronRobert Sorry to say...but you hit the nail on the head. Again...they have to "rebrand" and "change the face" of their party to attempt to appeal to all of the people that they have no respect for. I.E. Women, Ethnics, Impoverished, and Progressives.

skipbrackett
skipbrackett

@CameronRobert I bet you have really bad teeth. Maybe if you lost 50 - 60 pounds and get dental work you would feel a lot happier and less obsessed with any faults the Republicans may have.

mk045
mk045

@jilli.brown Change the look, but it's still the party of old white guys' ideas, views, interests.  Changing the look will simply amplify the absurdity.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@SteveSmith3 Except for the little fact, that you tend to be hypocrites, like the "Pro Life" Tennessee Tea Party Congressman that has force both his wife and his mistress to get an abortion.

Guest0
Guest0

Yep they have read the diversity memo, it's actually decades older than you think... if you honestly belive it is at the fault of one party your ignorant

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@valentine.godoflove Catering to idiots like you are the reason the GOP has the image problem it does. Please keep posting and we'll keep laughing at you.

Piacevole
Piacevole

@valentine.godoflove I can read standard text just fine, thank you, and all-caps simply smacks of ignorance.  But, given the rest of the statement, I suppose that's the way you want it.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@mahoneyct 

Your mistake is to assume that all those who don't give Obama good marks are GOP.

Willard made that very same mistake...

fitty_three
fitty_three

@dakinsky  

@curt3rd asked me if I called him a racist.  I told him that ignorance stands between him and racism.

What I didn't finish saying is that that's not so with you.

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

@aztecian @mrbomb13 

Excuse me, but I do not live on a country club, nor am I a member of the 1% (far from it).

Look closely at what I said.  The media focuses so much attention on diversity, diversity, diversity.  For what reason?  There is not a single study that says racial diversity adds a dollar of value to universities, corporations, or to the political arena.  Adding diversity is nothing more than a 'feel-good' activity than a proven benefit.

Politics should not be driven by racial diversity.  Like college/job applications, it should be driven by past accomplishments, skills, experiences, etc..  Race should not enter into the conversation at all.

What about that is so 'ridiculous' to you?

DanBruce
DanBruce

@joldham @JudithSquires You misunderstood. Judith is not a Republican. She is commenting on being a Republican. And, she's correct in her assessment.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@xian  

1920s to sometime after 1964.

Guess why 1964 is important. Guess.

RoseMarieMcgrath
RoseMarieMcgrath

@skipbrackett @CameronRobert  Nasty, uncalled for and ignorant!  Skip, I come from a long line of Ohio Republicans and would still vote Republican if so many hateful people hadn't invaded their ranks.  What Cameron stated is exactly why I left. 

Guest0
Guest0

Yes it is absurdity because in most case scenarios,  the change falls to the political left, and there is nothing more absurd than that.

Guest0
Guest0

In that sense both parties are hypocrites if your citing isolated occurences as you just have.

ahandout
ahandout

@mrbomb13 @aztecian  He's using race as a hammer to beat you with it.  Unfortunately this Republican player right into the DNC talking points. In other words, she stepped in Sh!t.

xian
xian

@fitty_three @xian it's simply ahistorical. Labor is a left movement, challenging capital. There were pro-union sentiments in both parties, but in neither case were those views held by conservatives.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@Guest0 And yet I'm not the one accusing the other side of being pro abortion homosexual poor.