PIERRO: RNC Debuts Appeal for Diversity
Published: Monday, September 3, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 3, 2012 23:09
The Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., last week symbolized a new era of reestablishing the GOP’s image. Despite several political gaffes over the last few weeks, the Republican Party showcased a host of diverse yet conservative speakers. Their testimonials — bound together by stories of individualism and American exceptionalism — indicate a new approach from the Republican Party to garner moderate and minority support. If nothing else, this convention set the stage for possible presidential candidates in 2016 or 2020.
With tough resolve, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reminded her audience that the United States “cannot be reluctant to lead, and one cannot lead from behind.” To a more riveting effect, Rice also gave her account of life as a young black girl growing up in “Jim Crow Birmingham” and reminded her audience that she went from not being allowed to “have a hamburger at Woolworth’s lunch counter” to becoming the U.S. secretary of state.
Marco Rubio continued with his story of growing up in a working-class, Cuban-American family in Florida. Recounting his father’s 16-hour work days and his mother’s three different jobs, Rubio reminded the audience that despite his low socioeconomic status, his deeply ingrained sense of American resolve made it possible for him to “accomplish all the things [his parents] never could.” Quoting the words of his father in Spanish, Rubio attempted to connect not only with the middle-of-the-road voters, but also with Latino voters, who still overwhelmingly favor the Obama administration.
Touting the principles of limited government, equality of opportunity, free markets and hard work, these minority speakers who took the RNC by storm represent the recent Republican strategy of connecting with minority groups — many of whom are moderate or independent voters.
This strategy marks an attempt to reverse the GOP’s reputation for being incompatible with the interests of these demographics. The change in language and rhetoric demonstrated by Rice and Rubio is an effective means for the Republican Party to transition into this new era. Currently, the GOP’s website dedicates a specific section to coalition-building for three main groups: women, blacks and Hispanics. So long as Romney’s campaign addresses how economic downturn disproportionately impacts these groups of people, he could continue to make inroads with the minority vote.
This Republican National Convention made up for what it has lacked in the past. More diverse speakers and more compelling stories united Republican ideals of personal responsibility, small government and preserving the American dream.
Daniel Pierro is a sophomore in the College.