After a tough 2012 election cycle for Republicans, who failed to recapture the White House or the Senate, and gave up seats in the House (though still maintaining a majority), the party has been forced into a period of soul searching. At the Republican Nation Committee's winter meeting, politicians and operatives reflected on the reasons for their 2012 losses and offered ways forward into 2014. Many Republicans believe that the party's main problem was in their tactics, messaging, and technology; some strategists even recommended the GOP look to the Obama's successful campaign machine and adopt some of its methods.
Others have suggested that the party's problems lie much deeper, like conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks who wrote of the need for a "second GOP." Issues like immigration and gay rights threaten to split the party, while costing the GOP growing demographics of minority Americans and young people. The recent bipartisan Senate proposal on immigration reform hints that some Republicans are rethinking their stances, though others have already expressed opposition to the deal.
Is the GOP's major problem in its tactics and messaging or in its principles and policies? Here is the Debate Club's take:
Ford O'Connell Republican Strategist and Political Analyst
Jamie Chandler Political Scientist at Hunter College
Brad Bannon President of Bannon Communications Research
Mercedes Schlapp Cofounder of Cove Strategies