(Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)
Among its many recommendations in a report published Monday, the Republican National Committee plans a concerted effort to improve its relations with minority communities.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus previewed the results of the report in a Sunday interview on CBS' "Face the Nation."
"We've become a party that parachutes into a community four months before an election," Priebus complained. "... In comparison to the other side, the Obama campaign lived in these communities for years. The relationships were deep, they were authentic."
Republicans performed poorly in the last election partly because they did poorly among non-white voters. White voters are becoming an increasingly smaller share of the electorate, a trend that will continue well into the future. One of the most telling statistics of the 2012 election was that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney won the white vote by 20 percentage points but still lost the election. The Republican Party will be unable to win national elections if it does not reverse its poor showing with non-white voters.
As part of the new effort, officially called the "Growth and Opportunity Project," the RNC will spend $10 million in the first year alone to hire hundreds of new paid staff to work in Hispanic, African-American and Asian-American communities.
School choice is one conservative policy in particular that will be highlighted in these minority communities as a way to provide greater access and equality of opportunity to high quality education.
"Perhaps no policy demonstrates the depth of our Party's commitment to all Americans as strongly as school choice – our promise of 'equal opportunity in education' to all children regardless of color, class or origin," the report states.
The report also emphasized the need to build relationships.
In the section on Hispanics, for instance, the report states, "In addition, the RNC must improve how it markets its core principles and message in Hispanic communities (especially in Hispanic faith-based communities). These communities care about relationships, not just politics. Democrats have built relationships with Hispanics while Republicans have faltered. ... We need to build a team that is one with the Hispanic community."
The report also suggests promoting minorities to leadership positions in the organization, not just putting them in minority outreach positions.
"It is also a fair criticism," the report states, "that Republicans do not do enough to elevate Hispanic leaders within the Party infrastructure. This includes not just candidates running for office, but also senior decision-makers in the RNC's infrastructure. These personnel should not be pigeonholed into demographic outreach, but should be promoted to positions to develop political strategy and provide input on all budgeting decisions."
As with most party organizations, the document mostly avoids specific policy proposals. It does, however, recommend that Republicans embrace comprehensive immigration reform.
"As stated above, we are not a policy committee, but among the steps Republicans take in the Hispanic community and beyond we must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform. If we do not, our Party's appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only. We also believe that comprehensive immigration reform is consistent with Republican economic policies that promote job growth and opportunity for all," the report states.
The 100-page report contains many other recommendations as well, including improving its systems of collecting, analyzing and utilizing data, reducing the number of debates during presidential primaries, compressing the primaries and caucuses into a shorter schedule, and having an earlier convention.