GOP’s Attempts at Reform Are Like Putting a Band-Aid on a Deep Cut

Reposted from the Albuquerque Journal, Sunday, March 23, 2014

By Kathy Duffy, Vice Chair, Democratic Party of New Mexico 

After the 2012 elections, the Republican Party decided to analyze and evaluate where they went wrong, why they lost the presidential election and what they needed to do differently. They released their “autopsy report,” which outlined that they needed to better reach out to communities of color, be more inclusive of all Americans, represent the middle class and attract more women to the party.

This month, as we reached the year anniversary of the report, it became crystal clear that Republicans still don’t get it. They still think that their message, their rhetoric and policies don’t matter – and that outreach and the right messenger can cover hurtful policies.

The Republican Party is giving trainings on how to talk to women, but they still don’t support equal pay and they want to take away a woman’s right to make her own health decisions; they’ve hired “outreach staff” in order to engage communities of color, but their agenda keeps alienating those same communities. Not to mention, Republicans keep trying to make it harder for all Americans to vote in elections.

Rather than re-evaluate the policies they support, and adopt an agenda that reflects the interests and well-being of the groups they seek to engage, the GOP continues supporting candidates like U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce who believes that “The wife is to voluntarily submit” and who voted in favor of a bill that could dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that the Obama Administration implemented in 2012, which is providing relief from deportation for undocumented youths.

This is the same party that also stands behind New Mexico Secretary of Human Services Sidonie Squier, who believes that “there has never been and is not now any significant evidence of hunger in New Mexico.”

Just in the past year, the Republican Party in New Mexico led by Gov. Susana Martinez refused to increase the minimum wage. They sought to restrict women’s rights to make their own health care decisions; and they continue to try to take away driver’s licenses from undocumented immigrants.

Whether it’s through their policies, their rhetoric or by trying to restrict the right to vote, the GOP is the same old out-of-touch party. The Republican Party’s problem is who they are, what they believe, what they say and how they govern. Their offensive attitude and harmful policies are a reflection of their values as a party and no amount of technology, outreach staff or primary changes will fix that.

In 2012, the GOP told immigrants they should “self deport.” After the elections, they realized that this offensive message was one of the things that cost them the support of Latino voters and they vowed to change. However, since then, they continue blocking immigration reform and making excuses about why it can’t happen this year. They’re trying to distance themselves from the one policy prescription the autopsy report laid out.

It’s no surprise that, in 2013, the Republican Party identification reached a 25-year low.

In 2014, Democrats in New Mexico will continue supporting policies that are in the best interests of everyday Americans. We will work to increase opportunity and participation, and to expand the right to vote for all Americans.

We will continue pushing for equal pay for women, for full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, for common sense immigration reform, and for economic policies that help grow the middle class and provide Americans with the opportunity to move up the economic ladder. At the same time, we will continue holding Republicans accountable for their actions and the candidates they support.

Until the GOP changes their core policies – no report, rhetoric trainings or staff will change their electoral outcome. The Republican Party of today is no different than the one from a year ago. Talk is cheap, actions speak louder than words and New Mexicans are not easily fooled by the Republican Party’s attempt to put a Band-Aid on a deep wound.