Yesterday, I talked to Glenn McCall, the Republican National Committeeman of the South Carolina Republican Party. Previously, I had written about his election. McCall was the 2nd Vice Chairman of the SC GOP and the Chairman fo the York GOP. York is the county across from Charlotte, NC.
I asked him why he ran for NCM He said that there was "not enough focus on energizing the party overall." In general, he said that we need to do better with African Americans and young people. His general principle is that "what we believe is right and works for all segments of our society."
Focusing on the the African American vote, he said that we "left the American American vote to the Democrats. Ten to fifteen percent should be achievable." He focused on "professionals who believe in lower taxes and personal responsibility." As these people "move into the middle and upper class" they appreciate the Republican message more.
McCall warned however that "outreach without relationship doesn’t work." He insists that we go t groups like the NAACP and genuinely engage in debates.
McCall did say that John McCain is "doing what we should be doing", and that "Ken Mehlman did it" also.
About Barack Obama, McCall said that "it is great that we made history, but it is time to end it."
On the issue of young people, McCall had some interesting observations. He saw two significant groups of young activists. The supporters of Mike Huckabee, who endorsed him, had significant young supporters. McCall suspects that over 50& of Huckabee supporters who attended events were young. At the same time "over 2/3rds of people were young families" at Ron Paul events in York County.
McCall agrees that we have to reach out to Paul supporters. He said that they had been reaching out to Paul supporters who were also loyal Republicans, and slowing reaching out to other Paul supporters. The key message is that they are welcome in the GOP. Many "have not felt welcome into the Republican Party." I suspect that much of the reaction against them has not helped this situation. It is certainly my sense that we need to do a better job here.
In general, McCall is quite optimistic about the future of the GOP. He sees that we can make real progress with both young people and African Americans.
McCall’s observation about revitalizing the grassroots resonates with my own experience. Unfortunately, it leaves two different answers. On the one hand, there are the Huckabee supporters who correspond to a new generation of envangelicals. On the other hand, there are the Ron Paul supportrers who are typically very pro-limited government, but also for a limited foreign policy.
Resolving this tension at the grassroots level is likely to be one of the issues that we have to resolve over the next several years. Hopefully we can find a way to include everyone in ths solution.