How the Republican Party lost its way

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The Democrats ran a superior campaign, and played it perfectly. They portrayed Romney as a zealot who only cared about rich white people while being anti-woman, anti-immigration and anti-middle-class.

Overall, they portrayed the Republican Party as the catalyst for class warfare.

It didn’t help that two of our Senate candidates made outrageous comments about abortion. Those are two Senate seats the Republicans should have won, but deserved to lose. I’ve always been pro-life, and when I ran for office, people were aware of my position, but it didn’t dominate my campaign. There are issues that go beyond abortion.

The Republican Party faces deep challenges. What defines the party? What does it stand for? Who does it include?

The Hispanic population is growing rapidly, and has been ignored by Republicans. According to the U.S. Census, between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population grew by 43 percent, and accounted for more than half of the U.S. population increase during that time.

Hispanics vote, and they are increasingly voting against the Republican Party. This election, Hispanics voted Democratic by a margin of 3 to 1. Over the next decade, Hispanics will become the largest ethnic population in the country.

We have some promising young Hispanic stars in our party, like Ted Cruz, senator-elect from Texas, and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, but they aren’t enough.

Wake up, Republicans! We will be able to win another presidential election only if we win 75 percent of the white vote, and that will never happen!

What are the first steps we must take to change our party? Ronald Reagan, who the religious right cites all the time, would disagree with much that the Tea Party represents. “Republican” has become synonymous with intolerance, exclusivity, meanness and religious extremism.

We must take on the right wing. The Republican Party should focus on being more libertarian on both fiscal and social issues. We still are, and should be, the party of opportunity and growth, free markets, and liberty.

We have four years to go, but it’s not too late to start working on these changes. We should support less government intervention and stay out of people’s bedrooms!

Al D’Amato, a former U.S. senator from New York, is the founder of Park Strategies LLC, a public policy and business development firm. Comments about this column?

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