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Republicans meet to 'autopsy' California party

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
March 4th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

California Republicans gathered this weekend to autopsy their party's death in the state. California is becoming increasingly blue and Republicans want to know if they can reverse the trend. Leading Republicans including Karl Rove discussed the topic this weekend in Sacramento.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Republican party has been losing ground in the state for some time and is now facing obsolescence in all but a few enclaves. Major cities have been blue for so long that they dominate the political climate in the state. Despite the state's 55 electoral votes, Republicans hardly bother to contest the state at the presidential level.

The numbers tell why the Republican Party has lost so much ground. The party is 82 percent white, however whites are a minority in the state, with about 60 percent of all persons belonging to other races. About 40 percent of the state population speaks a language other than English in the home, and about twenty percent of the population over 5 years of age speaks English less than "very well" according to the Census Bureau.

Political issues tend to follow race, although just generally, not strictly. Still, it's enough to see why Republicans are losing ground across the state. They're too white and their agenda does not match what the majority prefers.

Republican leaders now recognize that they need to change their message to one that appeals to a broader swathe of the electorate.

The party may need to shift to core issues and leave other, less politically critical issues to individuals. "We've got to figure out our highest priorities - such as the economy and jobs, public safety, efficient government, quality education - and focus on those," State Senate Republican Leader, Bob Huff told the Los Angeles Times.

Some issues, such as immigration, are serious sticking points for the state's large Latino population. During the 2012 election and even now, the party has taken a hard stance on immigration reform which resonates with many Latinos. Many families are either first or second generation immigrants, or they have friends who are. The Republican Party has long alienated these segments.

Now that those previously alienated segments have become mainstream, the Republican Party will need to change its platform or risk becoming increasingly less influential.

However, there is change on the horizon. The youth of the party is more diverse and the old guard is exiting. It remains to be seen if the party can retain these newcomers, and attract more, by changing their approach.

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