Republican Party: Get Diverse or Face Extinction

The report comes as several top Republicans, including Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio), have abandoned their opposition to gay marriage. But the vast majority of Republicans still oppose gay marriage and a full-scale shift on the issue by the party could alienate socially conservative voters who have been a bedrock GOP constituency for years.

The party report says it also must revamp its core economic message to appeal to middle-class voters and those hurt by the recession. That doesn't mean swaying from the GOP's small-government philosophy, but it does mean making some populist tweaks.

"We have to blow the whistle at corporate malfeasance and attack corporate welfare," it reads.

Priebus acknowledged that "stupid things were said" in the last election that hamstrung GOP candidates and said the party needs to build a presence to communicate with alienated voters. But he refused to condemn some of the more strident voices in the party on social issues, such as Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, or specifically endorse gay marriage. Instead, he said, all viewpoints should be welcome in the GOP.

"I think our whole team is a blessing," he said after his speech on Monday. "I think the idea that everyone on the team, Republican and conservative,you're welcome in the door. That attitude goes for everybody ... I'm not in the business of throwing anyone under the bus."

Beyond policy shifts, the report recommends building up the party's infrastructure to address these groups. It calls for the hiring of national political directors and advisory councils specifically for Asian-American, Hispanic and African-American voters to develop more sophisticated outreach and voter-targeting strategies, increasing engagement with Hispanic media, recruiting more minority candidates and installing minorities in key party leadership roles, not just "pigeonhole[ing]" them into "demographic outreach" positions.

Most importantly, it says that the GOP must engage year-round every year in minority communities, where Democrats have often been established for years, in order to make inroads. On Monday Priebus suggested that Republicans talk with groups "with which we've had minimal contact in the past," such as the NAACP and the National Council of La Raza.

It even suggests that the party use somewhat guerilla-style tactics to reach immigrant and minority communities, such as having outreach officials attend swearing-in ceremonies for newly naturalized citizens. For young voters, the RNC report tells candidates to appear on popular Comedy Central shows the Daily Show and the Colbert Report and to speak with magazines like People and Us Weekly. It also calls for the party to mobilize more conservative-leaning celebrities.

"We have to stop divorcing ourselves from the American culture," Priebus said.

It's clear that the party believes it must leave no no stone unturned.

"Unless the RNC gets serious about tackling this problem, we will lose future elections," the report says. "The pervasive mentality of writing off blocks of states or demographic votes for the Republican Party must be completely forgotten. The Republican Party must compete on every playing field."

This story was updated on March 18, 2013 at 10:29 AM

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