You have to say this for the Republicans: they know they have a big problem, but they can’t quite admit that they have to make big changes to fix the big problem. The latest example: a report from the  College Republican National Committee (CNRC) titled “Grand Old Party for a Brand New Generation.” (Try setting that title to a club beat.)

The gist of this analysis is that the GOP has a brand problem among young voters that needs fixing, and a big part of the brand problem is around gay issues. The CRNC conducted a survey and held focus to understand just why young voters turned out in droves for Obama. And it turns out, the problem isn’t insurmountable.

“We believe that Republicans can win young voters but that it will require a significantly different approach than has been used in recent elections,” the report burbles.

If by “different approach,” you mean “entirely different policies,” we might agree. And the CRNC does call on the party to recognize that things have changed. For example, the report explains that there is this thing called social media that young people rely on for information? Crazy kids!

In general, the report feels a lot like a bunch of old young people trying to explain their generation to a bunch of old, old people. But the report does acknowledge that gay issues summarize everything that young people dislike about the GOP. And the report’s response summarizes everything that gay people dislike about the GOP.

Yes, the report says “We should also strongly oppose the use of anti-gay rhetoric.” But it also tries to finesse the subject of marriage equality by claiming Democrats aren’t unified on the issue (untrue, it was in the party platform) and that if only the GOP  was better on other topics, young voters wouldn’t care about the anti-marriage stuff. In the meantime, the party should “promote the diversity of opinion within its ranks” and seek a middle ground, because, as we all know, expediency is more important than principle.

Ultimately, the CRNC report argues that the GOP is suffering from a bad brand. Now, you might argue that if the GOP is a box of cereal, people don’t hate it because the box is ugly but because the cereal tastes lousy. But until the party decides to throw the flakes out and start from scratch, reports calling for new box designs aren’t going to do much good.

Image credit: CRNC

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