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Douglas: GOP Must Shed Tea Party Influence

According to former Governor Jim Douglas, the Republican Party has two paths it can follow in the future.

One is to promote a narrow group of issues based on a strict ideological and inflexible point of view. The other is to become a “big tent” Party that allows its members to have different positions on a number of controversial social issues such as same sex marriage and abortion.

Douglas says it is now clear that the inflexible approach, as promoted by many local Tea Party groups, is not the path that the GOP should pursue in the future.

“It’s certainly been more prominent than it used to be in our party’s history and I think is very problematic," says Douglas.  "The Tea Party started out a few years ago as an economic movement, but somehow it got transformed away from economic issues into some social ones and caused I think a great division in the Party.”

Douglas thinks a message of fiscal conservatism and moderation on social issues is the right prescription for the future of the GOP.

“We have to broaden our base; the demographic reality is something that we need to confront and I think that’s the only formula for success,” he says.

Douglas believes his party must work harder to win over a larger part of the growing Hispanic population across the country.

“Because a lot of Hispanic Americans are ones with strong family values they are entrepreneurs they care deeply about this country whether they were born here or not,” says the former Governor. “That’s a set of values that ought to resonate with them and be seen as consistent with the Republican Party but for some reason it hasn’t been successful.”

Douglas has joined a national group known as the Bipartisan Policy Center in an effort to find ways to tone down what he calls the “toxic” political atmosphere that currently exists in Washington D.C.

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