In March, the Republican Party announced they launched a new outreach effort based on what they learned from their “autopsy” of the 2012 election. We declared the GOP’s “Growth and Opportunity Project” as “dead on arrival” but that certainly didn’t stop Reince Priebus from executing his plan of reaching out to minorities and young people in fresh, savvy new ways.
Since we can’t know how Reince’s plan to build cooler websites and hire minorities to go into communities across America, all we can do is judge the GOP by the actions they’ve taken in public.
Here’s a look at how the GOP’s “outreach” efforts are going — with grades!
AP Photo/CBS News, Chris Usher
“George Wallaces Of The 21st Century” In North Carolina
The Republican takeover in North Carolina has led to an unprecedented flurry of voting rights restrictions as well as cuts to the social safety net.
“The goal is to make this racially integrated swing state a solidly red bastion for the next decade and beyond,” writes The Nation‘s Ari Berman. No need for outreach if you can stop minorities and young people from voting.
Well, at least they killed the plan to set an official state religion.
Outreach grade: F-. Or maybe a “W,” as in George W. Bush or Scott Walker territory.
Hundreds Of Laws Proposed Intended To Limit Abortion Access
How do you change minds about your party after Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock made it seem as if knowing how a women’s body works was against the GOP platform? Republicans went to work trying to pass about 300 laws related to limiting abortion access.
During the first three months of 2013, legislators in 14 states introduced provisions seeking to ban abortion prior to viability. These bans fall into three categories: measures that would prohibit all abortions, those that would ban abortions after a specified point during the first trimester of pregnancy and those that would block abortions at 20 weeks after fertilization (the equivalent of 22 weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period, the conventional method physicians use to measure pregnancy). All of these proposals are in direct violation of U.S. Supreme Court decisions.
Outreach grade: C. Terrible, but about average for Obama-era Republicans.
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
The Shaming Of Marco Rubio Over Immigration Reform
One of the key recommendations of the GOP autopsy was to pursue immigration reform so Republicans could win over “so-called Hispanic voters.” Republicans even got 2016 GOP presidential nomination frontrunner and actual Latino Marco Rubio (R-FL) to lead the charge. The Cuban-born senator helped forge a compromise bill that the president seems willing to sign.
And the the video above is just a tiny sample of the blasting the junior senator from Florida can expect from his base.
In the GOP, you know you’re doing actual outreach when your party begins to tear itself apart.
Outreach Grade: B, as in “B” careful, Marco.
Herculean Efforts To Stop Students From Voting
Like any good cartoon villain, the GOP always thinks it would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those dang kids. North Carolina’s Republicans basically want to tax parents who let their kids register to vote at their college address.
Ohio’s Republicans topped North Carolina’s Republicans by figuring out a way to deprive schools of up to $370 million if they issue documents that allow students to register to vote where they’re attending school. Basically, says state senator Nina Turner (D), the state is asking schools to “do the dirty work of voter suppression.”
Outreach Grade: C. They’re not trying to raise the voting age… yet.
Killing Expanded Background Checks Just To Deny The President A Victory
Depending on the poll you check, either 8 or 9 out of 10 Americans believe there should be background checks on all guns sold in America. In April, 90 percent of Republicans voted against a measure that would modestly expand background checks. Why? Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), one of the 10 percent of Republicans who supported the bill, explained:
“In the end it didn’t pass because we’re so politicized. There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it,” Toomey said.
Toomey later clarified that he didn’t just mean his colleagues in the Senate — he meant all Republicans wanted to deprive the president of a victory.
This prompted The Daily Beast‘s Michael Tomasky to remind us that the GOP “is simply not a mainstream political party in the traditional American sense. It is a radical oppositionalist faction, way beyond the normal American parameters both in terms of ideology and tactics.”
Outreach Grade: C+. At least one Republican is admitting what they’re up to.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhit