WASHINGTON — Over strong objections from some conservative leaders, the Republican National Committee formally endorsed immigration reform on Monday and outlined plans for a $10 million outreach to minority groups — gay voters among them — as part of a strategy to make the GOP more “welcoming and inclusive” for voters who overwhelmingly supported Democrats in 2012.
In a report released Monday, the RNC says the way the party communicates its principles isn’t resonating widely enough and that focus groups perceive the party as “narrow minded,” “out of touch” and “stuffy old men.”
“The perception that we’re the party of the rich unfortunately continues to grow,” Reince Priebus, the RNC chair, said in a Monday morning speech.
To broaden its appeal, the party must reach out to minority voters and others, according to one recommendation in the report: “We must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform. If we do not, our party’s appeal will continue to shrink,” it said.
Party leaders have crafted dozens of recommendations after a months-long self-examination prompted by last year’s painful election losses. The report also calls on Republicans to take a harder line with corporate America, loosen political fundraising laws in Washington and in state capitals, and cut in half the number of candidate debates in a shortened 2016 presidential primary calendar.
The Republican National Committee’s shift on minority outreach may be the most visible change in the coming months.
Priebus plans to dispatch hundreds of paid workers into Hispanic, black and Asian communities across the nation by the end of the summer, a $10 million effort meant to rival President Barack Obama’s national political machine.