At the Republican National Committee’s self-healing session Monday morning at the National Press Club, Chairman Reince Priebus ran through a five-point “action plan” for moving the party forward. It’s a plan, Priebus said, of “bold strokes” that shows the GOP is “done with business as usual.” Per the recommendations of an internal review of “what went wrong” in 2012, the RNC will be working to improve in five areas: “messaging, demographic partners, campaign mechanics, technology, and the primary process.”
“If there’s one message I want everyone to take away from here it’s this,” Priebus told the breakfast audience of Republicans and journalists. “We know we have problems, we’ve identified them, and we’re implementing the solutions to fix them.”
Among the problems is the perception that the party is “narrow-minded,” “out of touch,” and “stuffy old men.” Also, rich and (reading between the lines) white. Those findings came from a focus group, Priebus said, and showed how poorly Republicans have communicated their principles. In addition, the party’s not seen as inclusive for people with other viewpoints. “Our 80 percent friend is not our 20 percent enemy,” as Priebus put it.
And the solutions? An “aggressive marketing campaign” toward minorities to “combat misperceptions” and educate voters about “what it means to be a Republican.” Making “data” a top priority. Having fewer presidential primary debates and set the date for the national convention earlier. Appointing a “youth liaison.” Creating “senior level advisory councils” that would be “working groups” to “share best practices” and “have a constant dialogue” with minority groups.
Priebus even suggested that Republicans reach out to “pop culture news outlets.”
“We have to stop divorcing ourselves from the American culture,” Priebus warned. “And maybe, that might mean I could get an invitation with the ladies of The View.” The Press Club crowd chuckled at the idea.
During the question-answer period, one journalist asked about the purpose of Priebus’s exercise in self-recrimination: “You just spent the last hour or so giving us your playbook, and very publicly,” the question read. “Are you concerned the Democrats will take the Republican playbook and use it themselves?”
Priebus reeled back from the podium, looking for a moment like had not considered this at all. The pause was brief, though.
“People want us to be bold,” he said. “And I think that it is true, this is an unprecedented thing, for a national party to put their cards on the table face up. But this is what we’re willing to do to build our party.”