The election may yet be remembered less as the day Mitt Romney lost the presidency and more as the day the Republican party died, at least in the shape that has existed for decades.
One of the younger generation of Republicans who will have a say in the reshaping of the party, Henry Barbour, nephew of the former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour, shares the view that the party has to reach out to Latinos, blacks, women and the young. Some of the candidates the party put up came across as “hostile”, he said, adding that he did not have to name them.
Unlike the Tea Party activists, Barbour is mainstream, an influential figure in his native Mississippi and in the Republican party beyond its borders.
The party was and will remain a conservative one, Barbour said, and policies such as opposition to abortion would remain a given. But the part could also learn from the Democrats about better organisation in identifying and getting out voters.
He thinks the party should listen to figures such as his uncle Haley Barbour and former Florida governor Jeb Bush but that the people who will lead the party should be Rubio or Romney’s running-mate Paul Ryanor someone else from that generation.
The main message of the election was the need to be more inclusive. “What we have to do is do is take our message to people who do not historically support us – blacks, Latinos, Asians, the young, people who agree with but we do not sit down with and break bread,” Barbour said. “We either do it or we continue to blow them off.”
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