After two days of meetings at the Republican Governors Association conference this week, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez heard a lot about the party’s need to reach new constituencies–particularly women and ethnic minorities–but few specifics about how.
As a Republican governor of Mexican descent who won all but four counties in a Democratic state, Martinez has ideas for how the party can reach voters who traditionally support Democrats. But it’s going to take some work–and a touch of humility–from her colleagues.
“Republicans need to stop making assumptions, and they need to start talking to younger people, people of color, and ask them–not talk to them–ask them, What is it that we can do better? How do we earn your vote? How do we earn the ability for you to see that we can be the party that will make your life better and that of your children?” Martinez said in an interview after the conference here. “But we can’t be the ones that come and tell them how things are going to be and how we have all the solutions.”
President Barack Obama in 2012 expanded his lead among Hispanics, black voters, Asians and women, according to exit polling, leaving many Republicans wondering what they need do to adapt to the nation’s rapidly shifting demographics.
The topic has dominated much of the party’s post-election soul searching. Some have placed part of the blame on the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, who wrote off nearly half the electorate as inevitable Obama voters when he told donors at a closed-door fundraiser last spring that 47 percent of the population would support Obama “no matter what.” Martinez criticized Romney’s comments when they were reported in September, and on Wednesday reiterated that she found them “ridiculous.”
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