Sen. Marco Rubio on Wednesday stated that the Republican Party must rebrand itself by expanding its tent and reaching out to different types of Americans. He pointed out what many on the right are beginning to realize: The GOP needs to take a page from Trump’s book when it comes to courting a wider variety of voters.
During an interview with Axios’ Alayna Treene, the senator said, “The future of the party is based on a multiethnic, multiracial working-class coalition.”
Rubio has positioned himself as a central figure in the conversation over how the party should evolve in the years to come. The lawmaker and former presidential candidate has been arguing that the future of the party must involve courting the working class and minority voters, which is a group that the Republican Party has struggled to win over.
President Trump made significant progress among black and Latino voters in 2020, earning 25% of the non-white vote. Another noteworthy factor is his appeal among black voters, who supported him at 18%.
The senator also touched on trade, warning Republicans that they should adopt Trump’s protectionist approach to trade. “If the takeaway from all of them is now is the time to go back to sort of the traditional party of unfettered free trade, I think we’re gonna lose the [Trump] base as quickly as we got it. … We can’t just go back to being that,” he insisted.
Rubio, who is half Cuban, is touching on a subject that will make or break the Republican Party in the future depending on how it crafts its approach. Projections show that minorities will become a larger percentage of the population in only a few decades.
The GOP has relied primarily on the support of white voters in suburban and rural areas of the country, essentially surrendering cities to the Democrats, who are now actively trying to transform red areas into blue. Many Republicans seem to be making the mistake of viewing the presidency as the only important office worthy of concern. However, if the GOP relies only on Trump’s success among minorities as the ultimate victory, it is very much mistaken.
The bottom line is that the Republican Party itself needs to engage with a more diverse array of voters at the local, state, and congressional level instead of only focusing on the performance of our presidential candidates. In Chicago, for example, 53 Democratic candidates running for state Senate and House of Representatives won their elections without campaigning because they ran unopposed. The GOP establishment continually refuses to run candidates in these areas — and this tendency will render the party obsolete if it persists.
The Republican Party has an opportunity to expand its tent and shore up a wider voting base. But Rubio is right. This will only happen if the GOP rebrands itself as a party that seeks to win with all Americans, not just a certain demographic. The Barry Goldwater strategy will no longer be effective in the years to come, and the Republican Party better be prepared to adapt. Otherwise, we will see the United States become the socialist nation that we fear.
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