Since the 2018 election, a lot of folks have asked me what Republicans must do to win in the future, especially in suburban Pennsylvania.
As I’ve been charting our course for what’s ahead and how we get there, I was touched recently to receive a wonderful gift: an 1888 John D. Long version of “The Republican Party: Its History, Principles, and Policy.”
On the cover of this beautiful, old, leather-bound book is Abraham Lincoln — the first Republican president — with his hand out to a recently freed slave, looking to the future while keeping one hand clenching what must be our founding document.
That image, and what is contained in that book, is a good reminder of what the Republican Party was and what it must be today: a party dedicated to holding true to our founding documents — particularly the Declaration of Independence, which declared ALL men are created equal and promised inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
To become a true majority party, we must hold fast to our founding principles and we must demonstrate to the nation that we care not just about deficits, building a wall, and rule of law — all of which are important — but that we have ideas worthy of the mantle of leadership.
And we must have an agenda for all Americans.
It’s time for the Republican Party to deliver a message with our own brand of effective compassion. In our cities, many families are mired in a cycle of multigenerational poverty, reliant on Democrat-promised government assistance. Their many programs have fueled what George W. Bush called the “soft bigotry of low expectations."
Where is our party’s march seeking justice and advancement for these families?
In what I think is the social-injustice issue of our time, two-thirds or more of Philadelphia children can’t read or write at grade level and one-third will not graduate, and the education establishment in Pennsylvania, as it does across the county, seeks to deny parents the right to educational choice in schools.
Where is our public relations push to show who is actually leaving these students behind?
We need a new contract with America – a new promise. We must be the party that supports effective programs dedicated to urban America, job training, educational choice and opportunity, and policies that support the dignity of work.
We cannot be the party that merely points out the problem. We must be the party offers real solutions and real plans for those in need while holding true to the rule of law and our conservative values.
In the White House, President Donald Trump has thankfully given us a lot to work with as we seek to broaden our message. The successes of his administration and Republican leadership have done more than just provide tax reform, but have taken real steps to make government work for those long left behind by the political establishment.
By prioritizing things like school choice that helps students find an education environment that works for them, Economic Opportunity Zones that seek to provide long-term investment in low-income communities, overdue criminal justice reform that takes a holistic approach to rehabilitation, and paid family leave that facilitates more opportunity for working families, the president is doing a lot for those living in our urban and suburban communities.
It’s up to us to help tell that story.
As the Republican Party of Pennsylvania moves forward we have plans to build strong coalitions by reaching out to all communities of interest who can help us get our message out, become faithful representatives of the party, and shape our vision. We plan to ask them to run for office and join our committee.
Additionally, it is my personal mission as chairman of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania to use this time, especially in the near future, to continue to make this party as strong and united as we can be. We’ve seen firsthand at the local, state, and national level, what division within our party does.
We must not lose our way — and our party — by allowing internecine personal politics to triumph.
If we achieve that unity, the Republican Party in Pennsylvania and across the country can — and will — become a true governing, majority party.
With that mission, we can truly be one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Val DiGiorgio is the Chairman of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania.