Opinion
Join The Times' book club. This month's selection: "Cadillac Desert"
Opinion Top of the Ticket

Republicans come to the heartland of the Hollywood liberals

The Republican National Committee’s Spring gathering is taking place this week at Loews Hollywood. That is not Hollywood, Fla., or Hollywood, S.C., or Hollywood, Ala. – all real towns in really red states – but Hollywood, Calif., the place where Sean Penn, Ben Affleck, Alec Baldwin, Susan Sarandon, Barbra Streisand, Jane Fonda, Martin Sheen, George Clooney and the rest of the entertainment industry’s liberal horde earn their keep.

Like Nixon going to China, the Republicans have entered hostile territory. Ostensibly, this interesting choice of venue is part of RNC Chairman Reince Priebus’ outreach to communities that Republicans have long considered unreachable. But Priebus and his party have about as much chance picking up votes in Hollywood as they would in Harlem. 

The location is merely symbolic, akin to Barack Obama showing up at a National Rifle Assn. conclave just to prove he is man enough to do it. Assembling the party’s governing body in such an unexpected place is really meant to focus attention on the findings of the GOP’s Growth & Opportunity Project. That report, released by Priebus a couple of weeks ago, says the party organization needs to make its message more appealing to Latinos, blacks, women and young people and then figure out ways to deliver that message in technologically innovative ways.

The underlying concern is that in 2012, the Obama campaign sank Mitt Romney’s presidential bid by scooping up the vast majority of nonwhite voters, micro-targeting other likely Obama voters, such as single women, and driving up turnout among heretofore undependable young voters by smartly exploiting social media. The report says Republicans need approaches to match what the Democrats have done.

The report also bears an implicit message that not all Republicans want to hear. The message is that the party can no longer be held hostage by tea party zealots and the religious right. The party establishment managed to move in that direction at the national convention in August when several measures were approved that gave more clout to party officials and enhanced their ability to maintain order in the rowdy process of choosing a presidential candidate.

On Wednesday, the RNC rules committee spent the day debating those rule changes. The more conservative committee members branded the shift of control as a “power grab” that stole authority from state parties and the grass-roots activists who are the foot soldiers of the Republican cause. They lost most of their points, but temporarily won back the right of state convention delegates to ignore the result of a state primary or caucus and cast their ballots as they see fit. Holding on to that small victory when the full RNC votes on Friday may be tough, though, since rules require them to win support from 75% of the committee members. (For more details, check out Maeve Reston’s report from the RNC meeting.)

That little spat, alone, suggests that Republicans still need to find peace among themselves before they can seriously hope to gain ground among voters, even in places much less liberal than Tinseltown.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • Right-wing religious nuts limit Republican Party's future

    Right-wing religious nuts limit Republican Party's future

    Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, says his party needs to be retooled. Republicans, he says, need to reach out to minorities, show a willingness to work with those who do not agree with them 100% and find a way to convince young people that the GOP does not stand for...

  • New brain study should probe shallow recesses of tea party minds

    New brain study should probe shallow recesses of tea party minds

    President Obama wants to invest an initial $110 million in a study of the human brain that could have benefits as great as those achieved by the Human Genome Project. Maybe the first study should be done on the one-track minds of tea party Republicans, who will undoubtedly oppose funding for the...

  • Why men feel the need to carry guns

    Why men feel the need to carry guns

    Since the 1960s, the national conversation on firearms in both political and academic circles has revolved around one main question: Do guns increase crime or reduce it? Are guns tools of escalation or deterrence?

  • Agency should adopt rule to protect those with IRAs

    Agency should adopt rule to protect those with IRAs

    The U.S. Supreme Court struck a blow for investors last week when it revived a lawsuit accusing the managers of a company retirement plan of picking investments that were too costly. Meanwhile, the Department of Labor is trying to provide a similar level of protection for individuals saving for...

  • Who can get access to police files in California?

    Who can get access to police files in California?

    In California, police officers have a right to keep their personnel files confidential. At the same time, all criminal prosecutors are constitutionally bound to disclose to the defendant any evidence that's reasonably likely to affect a conviction or punishment.

  • California students shouldn't get placed in fake classes

    California students shouldn't get placed in fake classes

    When it was revealed that students at Jefferson High School in South Los Angeles and other schools were being assigned to "classes" in which nothing was actually taught, many people wondered how this could happen. Isn't it against the law to stick kids in fake classes and deprive them of basic...

Comments
Loading