Republicans go hip-hop

The GOP is in need of more than just a fashionable façade

Is John McCain turning in his dentures for grillz? Apparently the Arizona senator will have to become John Mac Daddy McCain if he is going to follow the Republican’s strategy to win in 2012. Last week, Republican National Committee chairman, Michael Steele, said the conservative message is going to be taken to “urban-suburban hip-hop settings.” In addition, his public relations team is going to concoct new ideas that will surprise the world and be “off the hook.” Move over Snoop Dogg, the Republinizzle is coming to town. But before Sean Hannity and the rest of Fox News declare this a winning strategy, I have to stop the turntables and bring the RNC chairman into reality. Republicans lost across this country in congressional districts, senate races and even the battle for the White House for more than just the urban hip-hop culture. President Obama won because he offered a fresh alternative in comparison to the partisan politics of campaigns’ past (even though I have witnessed little bi-partisanship since Obama took office). By now words like “hope” and “change” are terms embedded in the revitalized American spirit of an Obama America. After all, a black man with a funny name in the White House is a new dynamic. For those not keen on Obama’s flowery rhetoric, our president’s victory was also due to a poor economy and an opponent who thought America’s financial situation was fundamentally sound. Face it Republicans: It just wasn’t your year. As a result, party leaders are trying to decide what card to play next. They have played the rough riding Texan. They attempted to be mavericks, and now because an African American man won with the strong support of 18-29-year-olds his opponents must resort to going hip-hop? As a young voter, I am insulted that this is the conclusion the GOP has arrived at. While there were college students who showed their O-faces because it was the trendy thing to do or because Scarlett Johansson and Will I. Am said “Yes We Can” on YouTube, there were also young voters who took their civic duty responsibly. There were college students who listened to the candidates, read about their stances through a variety of media and struggled to cast their vote. We were not all blissfully blinded by Obama. It is a shallow interpretation for winning — resorting to cheap gimmicks to lure in votes. It appears a rash response to a brutal beating on Nov. 4. It is so thoughtless. I question how the GOP plans to discuss social issues like abortion, gay marriage and gun control on street corners in crowded cities. Is Roe v. Wade the new East Coast/West Coast rivalry? Will young people be shouting “Prop 8âĦyeaaa boi!” My advice to Mr. Steele, before he decides to don some bling, is to decide if this is truly what voters want. The electorate does not need to be chic. They just want to be listened to. Did the RNC do this when forming their image strategy? Was there communication from a variety of parties- from the extremely conservative to women to minorities to the extremely liberal? Perhaps, if the RNC didn’t assume, but rather heard what others had to say, they could find their conservative message is not necessarily most effective in the lyrics of a culture. Perhaps they would understand hip hop is not reserved for just young people or minorities or liberals. Maybe the RNC’s best attempt at winning is to provide a balanced alternative to the Obama administration. Or utilize technology more effectively. Make supporters feel like they are not just behind a candidate but behind a movement. Until then, the GOP might as well peace out. They will be the typical political party with the same supporters masked in the façade of understanding voters. This column, accessed via UWire, was originally published in the Illinois State University Daily Vidette. Please send comments to [email protected]