In 2012, a group of elected Republican officials took it upon itself to define rape. The November 2012 election clearly showed that this was a bad decision. The Republican Party will need widespread damage control in order to have any shot in 2016 and the first step is taking the topic of rape out of the discussion.
At an annual retreat in January, the House Republicans were given this tidbit of advice from a pollster: “Rape is a four letter word – don’t say it.” Hopefully, members were taking notes because this is the best recommendation that they could ever receive.
Republicans have managed to alienate women, moderates and young people through extreme positions on social issues. It feels as though members have been in constant competition to see who is the most conservative, and in doing so have managed to push potential voters away. There are many who support small government and spending cuts but are left baffled by the obsessive attention given to social issues.
A fundamentalist Christian minority that preaches intolerance and one that is completely out of touch with the country has essentially hijacked the Republican Party. This country is becoming increasingly diverse and the rising generation has a completely different view of the world. Republican leaders need to address this development and start silencing the crazies whose word vomit destroys any chance of re-election and creates a lasting negative perception of the party.
Critics of the GOP have identified the comments regarding rape as part of the Republican Party’s “War on Women.” Numerous Republicans dismiss this war as fake and merely a political strategy used by Democrats to gain ground during election season. For women in this country, however, the attack on women’s rights feels very real and is a great cause for concern. The multiple sound bites of Republicans discussing rape are a vital component in this war. These instances may have been a contributing factor to the large gender gap between President Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney.
Sadly, it seems necessary for the Republicans to be told to stop talking about rape. One would think that they might have figured that out themselves after the 2012 election, especially considering the loss of two U.S. senate seats from candidates who had decided to chime in with their thoughts on rape during their respective campaigns.
One can only hope that there will be an end to the entire rape discussion, but nothing will change unless party leaders take control. This is all part of a larger issue facing the Republican Party, which is its own group of extremely conservative members whose obsolete views are causing the party irreparable damage. This is a serious problem that must be addressed because it has created an image of Republicans as sexist, discriminatory and behind the times. Perceptions such as these are severely harmful to the future of the GOP and it is crucial that these notions change in the coming years.
It is about time the Republican stance on social issues became grounded in 2013 rather than 1950. Society has changed and the GOP needs to jump on board or face complete irrelevance.