These are confusing times for the Republican party. After the whipping they took from President Obama during the two presidential campaigns, the Republican establishment thought variety was the spice of life, and the key to victory if they were to win the White House again. Party leaders embarked on a fact-finding mission to figure out ways to make the GOP appeal to a broader spectrum of the electorate, and the results of that mission were shocking to no one but the GOP – the party needed to be more diverse.
So with the results of that mission in hand and the 2016 Presidential election right around the corner, what would be the best winning strategy for the GOP? To appeal to more white people… apparently!
There has been a debate within the party — and the political class — about whether Republicans need to diversify to win or whether it just needs to attract even more of its core constituencies. So far in 2016, led by Cruz and Donald Trump, the election has moved decisively toward the latter. The exceptions, such as Jeb Bush and Lindsey Graham, are either out of the race or on the edges of it.
Trump is making the most visceral, raw appeal to people who feel left out of the economic recovery and ignored by the political establishment. He espouses hard-line views on immigration that border on nativism, protectionist trade policies and a tough approach with countries like China, Japan and Mexico that he portrays as thieves of U.S. manufacturing jobs.
Cruz, a Texas senator, is taking a similar tack, especially on immigration, airing a provocative television ad last week that depicts illegal immigrants racing across the U.S. border in suits and high heels to steal jobs from Americans.