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The GOP Must Seize The Center Or Die

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  • Ralph Reed: Conservatives Can Win Minority Votes

    Ralph Reed: Conservatives Can Win Minority Votes

  • Why the GOP Has Failed: Substance Versus Style

    Why the GOP Has Failed: Substance Versus Style

  • Mickey Edwards: The GOP No Longer Stands for America

    Mickey Edwards: The GOP No Longer Stands for America

  • Was George W. Bush a "Centrist" in the GOP?

    Clip: Laura Ingraham argues against the motion "The GOP Must Seize the Center or Die."

  • Is the GOP for liberty, or for restrictions on liberty?

    Clip: Ralph Reed argues against the motion "The GOP Must Seize the Center or Die."

Debate Details

2012 was a disappointing year for Republicans. The failure to win key swing states in the presidential election and surprising losses in the House and Senate have prompted some reflection. Was their embrace of small government, low taxes, and a strong conservative stance on social issues at odds with shifting American demographics? Or did the GOP embrace the right platform, but the wrong candidates?

The Debaters

For the motion

David Brooks

Op-Ed columnist, The New York Times

David Brooks became an op-ed columnist for The New York Times in September, 2003. He has been a senior editor at The Weekly Standard, a contributing... Read More

Mickey Edwards

Former US Congressman (R), Oklahoma

Mickey Edwards, a former Republican congressman from Oklahoma, is a vice president of the Aspen Institute.Read More

Against the motion

Laura Ingraham

Host, The Laura Ingraham Show

Laura Ingraham is the most-listened-to female talk radio host in the United States. The Laura Ingraham Show is ranked in radio’s TOP 5, heard in... Read More

Ralph Reed

Chairman, Faith & Freedom Coalition

Ralph Reed is founder and chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition. Reed served as a senior advisor to George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns... Read More

Where Do You Stand?

For The Motion
  • The GOP has alienated key demographic groups—women and minorities—with uncompromising conservatism on issues like immigration and women's rights.
  • Young Americans are more liberal-leaning. Millennials have grown up in a much more culturally diverse environment and tend to be supportive of progressive domestic issues.
  • The GOP must embrace pragmatism over fiscal purity.
  • American's are tired of the political gridlock that prevents us from moving forward.
Against The Motion
  • The reason GOP candidates fared poorly in 2012 is not because they were too conservative. The problem was that they were too moderate or waffled on core issues, lending doubt to their allegiance to conservative ideals.
  • Rather than change its message, the GOP needs to change its delivery. Candidates need to be more engaged, and new media and technology needs to be embraced.
  • Liberal values permeate media and entertainment.
  • The GOP must expand its focus to all aspects of society.


  • Live Audience
  • Online Audience
  • Results
  • Breakdown

The Research

The Research

The Republican Civil War: Who Wins –The Tea Party, Rand Paul and Rush Limbaugh, The Mainstream and Karl Rove, or the Social Conservatives like Mike Huckabee?

Laura Matthews
March 29, 2013

The Republican Civil War can be broken down into three categories: heavily religious Republicans who care about social issues, establishment conservatives who still believe in compromise, and limited-government Republicans who want to shrink the federal government and cut public spending to the bone.

The GOP's Real Problem Is Simple

Rush Limbaugh
March 18, 2013

The Republican Party lost because it's not conservative. It didn't get its base out in the 2012 election.

How the GOP Got Stuck in the Past

David Frum
November 11, 2011

The finger-pointing misses a bigger truth: Republicans have become estranged from modern America. Why fixating on the old glory days is bogging down the party’s future.

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