Morrison: GOP must adapt to changing electorate
By Sean M. Morrison Guest Commentary December 20, 2012 9:40PM
Updated: January 22, 2013 6:05AM
As a fiscally conservative Republican, I am finally recovering from the sucker punch that was the 2012 election.
I have asked myself how did this happen, why and what now?
In pondering these questions, I have come to the conclusion that it’s going to be difficult for our Republican Party to regain its footing in the months and perhaps years ahead.
But we must not give up. We will need to gain small victories at first and wait for opportunities to claim large ones.
Recently, I read an article that contends that our Founding Fathers are still providing us with their collective wisdom today. It made me think that if the Republican Party is to survive and flourish in Illinois and nationally, we need to heed a sample of the founders’ collective wisdom.
They found it necessary, for example, to leave the institution of slavery for others to end at some future date when it became politically possible.
When there are many important issues, we must accomplish as much as we can, and not impossibly demand to solve them all at once.
That message from our Founding Fathers is still clear today. Politically speaking, we cannot and should not fight every single issue solely for the sake of engaging the fight but rather fight the battle that we can win and engage the others when it will be politically possible to win them.
It makes us no less moral, no less ethical and no less conservative to navigate a political path to electability, and a path that provides the mechanism in which to effectuate the change that we seek.
Common sense tells us that we cannot right the wrongs facing our state and our nation if our party’s candidates cannot get elected to public office.
We Republicans must deliver a clear message while maintaining our values that we are a party of inclusion, not exclusion.
We must understand why such voter blocs as independents, minorities, women and those under age 40 are increasingly turning away from the overall Republican message of fiscal conservatism and family values.
Our voter base is shrinking, and like it or not, the societal norms, age demographics and social culture of America is actively and continuously changing.
As we move into 2013 and beyond, it’s increasingly futile to simply preach that the Republican Party is the right political solution for the problems we face — the message of past decades no longer resonates with the current and evolving social fabric of our nation.
If we do not accept this sobering reality, then our political party as we know it will be doomed to the same fate as the buggy whip, or politically speaking, the Whig Party.
We need to re-examine, not our values, but our approach and how we deliver the message of our values to the American people.
Sean M. Morrison, of Palos Park, is a businessman and the Palos Township Republican committeeman.