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Why Republicans Must Abandon Hardline Positions

After Tuesday’s presidential election, it’s clear Republicans cannot count on a conservative, Evangelical base to provide the necessary votes to sweep a candidate into office, a prominent Republican college student opined.

Fix Contributor Alex Jakubowski, a junior at Northwestern University in Chicago and an active member of the Illinois Republican Party, was raised in a staunchly Republican home, one that valued other people’s opinions. So in the wake of the 2008 and 2012 Republican presidential losses, Jakubowski – a former intern for Rep. Paul Ryan and currently one with the European Foundation for Democracy – argues in a Daily Caller op-ed that it’s time for his party to make a change.

As a life-long Republican, and after enduring two straight embarrassing losses, I can no longer sit by and wait for things to change. The party in which I was raised did not dictate to others how they must set policies on immigration, marriage, and abortion; the party in which I was raised thought sensibly about how to work with the other side and compromise, achieving at least in part the goals of all for the sake of the nation. As a dear friend and fellow moderate Republican recently said in an argument I have become far too familiar with, “Disagreement is not a threat to your own views.” In fact, disagreement is what can propel us forward, what can drive us to discover what policies can truly change our society for the better.

If our party is to truly change, as it is now clear it must, our focus needs to change as well. No longer can we count on a conservative, Evangelical base to provide the necessary votes to sweep a candidate into office. The party must abandon its hardline positions on abortion, immigration, gay marriage, and many other issues — many of which alienate those who are supposed to make up the future of our movement.

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  • This has got to be the best-worse advice ever. For starters, Mitt Romney was not a Conservative to begin with. Second, Romney failed to appeal to the grass roots voters in the early voting series. Third, moderation is what we got with McCain in 2008 and again with Romney. How well did that work? Third, look at Scott Brown, the most leftist GOP member out there got defeated by a hard life leftist who thinks she is a Native American. Fourth, 60 percent according to a CBS Poll showed 60 plus percent of Americans favored legislation similar to SB 1070. Including the fact that 40 Percent of Latino voters voted for Romney, a major leap compared to 20 percent of the Latino vote for the GOP when Reagan gave amnesty in 1986. This type of abandonment of principles and liberty is what got us Bush, Obama, and now, another four year round with Obama. Just look at what happened with Arlen Spector when he was a Senator, how he flipped flopped, heck, he played a key role as being the the main GOP public office holder to pass the most largest spending bill in American History. Or as the late Barry Goldwater stated, “moderation in the pursuit of justice, is no virtue”. History repeats itself, these convictions is what got us a Reagan era of liberty and prosperity, no more moderation. Period!

  • Andrew

    This editorial, and the opinion piece it references, is unfortunately just the attitude liberals in America wish to see the Republican party take: that the only way for a conservative to be elected is to cease to be conservative.

    Mr. Jakubowski insists that these election results make it clear conservatives must abandon their convictions in favor of more popular opinions.

    Perhaps the most fitting response is one penned by William F. Buckley Jr., who wrote the following in his mission statement for The National Review: “We believe that truth is neither arrived at nor illuminated by monitoring election results.”

    Republicans ought not abandon their principles in favor of popularity. Rather, they should reaffirm their belief in the dignity of the human person, the dangers of big government, and the rights of all men to life and liberty. Do otherwise and they will become nothing more than watered down liberals, doing harm to America every step of the way.

  • Dai Yoshida

    You are absolutely right if Romney lost because he did not attract moderate Republicans. You would be absolutely correct if Romney had full support of the Republican core and was just short in independent voters. But the truth is, 2 million McCain voters stayed home. Republicans who voted for McCain holding their noses because they just couldn’t bear to see Obama take the Presidency, stayed home. They couldn’t see the difference between Obama and Romney, and, they, stayed home.

    No my friend. Political analysis needs to be logical. This editorial is nothing more than knee-jerk reaction of a young and unseasoned mind.

  • Stacey

    Actually I agree with the columist. Conservatives tend to speak with an authority they don’t have. They speak for God, they speak for America, they speak for the Founding Fathers. But they aren’t God, they aren’t the Founders and there are huuuuuuuuuuuggggge swaths of America they know and care less than nothing about. As long as the Republican party is wedded so seamlessly to conservatives they will continue to court ideological extinction. If the conservatives would leave Americans who do not share their religion, values or cultural imperatives alone to pursue their own ways, in their own homes, in their own lives we would have a Republican president right now. I know cause I would have voted for him. Maybe. Instead conservatives keep harping on about this mythical golden age they want to go back to. The 40’s and 50’s and such. As an african american I can tell you definitively uhhhhhh no.

  • jaclocla

    Remember history, my young friend. Conservatives have capitulated and sold out many times over the years and that is why we’re in the fix we’re in today. Daniel Patrick Moynihan warned about the dangers of the welfare state to society back in the 1960’s but nobody listened. He was called a racist, just as we are today, but he was right. Look where we are today. Many homes are headed by single females by choice because they know that welfare isn’t just a safety net any longer, it is a way of life. Single parent homes are the leading cause of poverty in the U.S. not by coincidence. We gave up and caved in.

    It is the left that is forcing gay marriage on us. They invented yet another new right and demand we go along with it.

    It is the left who demand that abortions be used as birth control.

    It is the left who has insisted that employers provide birth control and abortions in their health care policies even if said employers object to those things. It is the left who is attacking our first amendment rights.

    With immigration, especially illegal immigration, we are importing socialists who come here for the free stuff the gov’t gives away. They have been born and bred believing that the gov’t is the only source of wealth, a complete antithesis to what made the U.S. strong. Hispanics will never vote for conservatives because they are socialists at heart.

    The left takes inch by inch. We cave a little and they demand more. It never ends.

    What the left believes in destroys us. It destroys lives, families, communities, and our nation. What they want will not change us for the better.

    • Chris

      If I was a liberal who wanted nothing more than for the Republican Party to continue losing elections, your words would be music to my ears, sir. Instead, as a liberal who wants to there to be a strong, modern and intelligent Republican Party working alongside us, your words make me sad.

      • jaclocla

        Why does the truth make you sad? What thing did I say that is wrong or a lie? Hispanics are sadly taught that gov’t is the only source of wealth. That’s why they don’t know what to do with the American dream when they get here other than co-opt the wealth we have created under our free society and take advantage of the benefits without ever realizing their own personal potential. The left is to blame for that. They’ve brainwashed people into believing they have no inherent value other than as cogs of big gov’t.

        Single parenthood is the leading cause of poverty in the U.S. and the welfare state helped create that problem. Many women actually choose to be single moms knowing they can’t afford a child without the gov’t.

        The left creates a new victim class every day that needs some new over-reaching gov’t intervention to fix. Then, conservatives are vilified for pointing out how the policies will not work.

        Conservatives have been promised increased border protection and enforcement in exchange for amnesty before. Where is the enforcement? We were promised spending cuts for a few choice tax increases. Where are the cuts? All we get in return is liberals calling us racist/uncaring/throwing grandma off a cliff for wanting to protect what freedoms we have left and get spending under control.

        Give the left an inch and they take 10 miles and then demand more.

        What makes me sad is that we’ve lost our once strong and wealthy nation to socialism. We were exceptional and different because of capitalism, not redistribution of wealth. Conservatives offer everyone the prospect of a better life, not just the so-called victimized classes. That’s no longer good enough, though. The welfare state has created immature people who still think Santa exists and his name is Uncle Sam.