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Republican National Committee Co-Chair Sharon Day says many changes need to happen for Republicans to start winning more elections, including a GOP embrace of comprehensive immigration reform and putting an end to "aggressively negative" rhetoric on the issue of marriage.
Earlier in March, the RNC issued a very detailed report into why the 2012 elections went poorly for the party and how efforts can be improved in future campaigns. Suggestions ranged from fewer debates in the GOP primaries and greatly beefing up hi-tech outreach, to making greater inroads with various demographics, especially blacks, Hispanics and young voters.
The RNC's "Growth and Opportunity Project" reports young voters saw "gay" marriage as a defining issue in how they cast their ballots. Day says the party stands behind it's platform position of a marriage being between a man and a woman but the tone of the conversation needs to improve.
"What this report showed and what we find important is that tone does matter. Words do matter. You have to make people feel inviting. You have to make people want to feel invited to be part of the process and part of the solution," Day told WND.
As high-profile Supreme Court arguments on same-sex marriage played out in Washington this week, Democrats were very active in urging the court to change the definition of marriage. Republicans were largely absent from the debate. Day says the GOP clearly stands behind its traditional marriage plank in the party platform.
"I think we clearly define that a marriage is between a man and a woman. Our belief is from that point, but it doesn't mean there also isn't open dialogue to discuss it and to talk about it," said Day.
The other issue the RNC report specifically addresses is immigration, with the Republican leaders urging passage of comprehensive immigration reform. Day says the issue is a major reason for the plunge in Republican support among Hispanics over the last couple of election cycles and trumps the tendency of Hispanics to agree with the party on other issues.
"With a lot of Hispanics and a lot of minority groups, immigration is not the key issue, but it becomes a key issue when it becomes a political football that's kicked from one side to the next without talking about it in honest terms," said Day.
Day believes the key for Republicans is not to shift their positions on key issues but to engage with voters more effectively.
"If you're a man, a woman, you're Hispanic, you're black Republican, you're an Asian, doesn't matter. What we want is the same thing. We want a good education for our children. We want a job, to be able to put food on the table without two or three jobs. We want strong national security. Those are the things that are important to every American. We did not do a good job as the Republican National Committee or our party or our candidates in talking about the issues that resonate to all Americans. We weren't in the communities. We weren't talking about it. We didn't make them feel invited. We did not make them feel like we wanted them in our party and that's our responsibility," said Day.