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Republicans struggle to find winning strategy

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said it best Thursday at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting. Republicans need to “stop being the stupid party.”

"Stupid" is a good word to describe the GOP, but insensitive, elitist, unfair, discriminatory and dishonest might also work.

Jindal gets it. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gets it. Failed vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan does not.

“Obviously, we have to expand our appeal,” Ryan said Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press.

What Ryan wants is to find a way to get people—other than white males over 65—to vote for Republicans. That is going to be hard if the GOP remains steadfast in the idea that the only role of government is to protect the wealth of CEOs by cutting funding to programs that help everyone else.

As Paul Krugman notes in the New York Times:

“Republicans have a problem. For years they could shout down any attempt to point out the extent to which their policies favored the elite over the poor and the middle class; all they had to do was yell “Class warfare!” and Democrats scurried away. In the 2012 election, however, that didn’t work: the picture of the G.O.P. as the party of sneering plutocrats stuck, even as Democrats became more openly populist than they have been in decades.”

The rejection of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in the last election goes beyond the hypocrisy of believing in government assistance for corporate America, but not for working class Americans. The Republican Party has no new ideas or vision to offer voters, and some believe that they are rude.

The 2012 GOP campaigns were filled with crude remarks directed toward women and rape victims, conspiracy theories, false and misleading ads, and in some cases outright lies. Not exactly the kind of stuff that demonstrates good leadership qualities. Add that to four years of refusing to govern, suggestions of racism, threats to deliberately wreck the economy and insults directed at 47 percent of the population, and the Republican brand has rightfully earned the title of “stupid party.”

Two months after taking a beating in the 2012 elections, the Republican Party leadership is still struggling to discover what went wrong and is still looking in all the wrong places.

Contrary to the GOP message, the American people do not want smaller government; they want more efficient government that can afford to help them when they need it. They want to see the end of three decades of economic and tax policy that has expanded income inequality, poverty, and kept wages stagnant.

One consistency in the GOP scheme is an awareness that they have to cheat to win, because a majority of Americans do not agree with their political ideology. In a democracy, where the majority rules, the only way to take power that is undeserved is to circumvent the process.

In 2012, Republican efforts at voter suppression failed. Enormous amounts of money failed. Now, instead of blaming the candidates or changing the message, RNC chair Reince Priebus has decided that the reason Romney didn’t win was because the GOP had not cheated enough. His solution is to rig the Electoral College in time for the 2016 elections, so even if the Republican candidate gets fewer votes, they can still win the election.

This is not how things are supposed to work.

One hundred percent of Americans want the American Dream, but Republicans only want the government to help one percent of them achieve it—and that is what’s wrong with the GOP’s message. It is also why, despite all their unethical efforts, Republicans failed to make Barack Obama a one-term president.