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What went wrong?

Gregg Reese | 4/10/2013, 5 p.m.

Autopsy: an examination of a body after death to determine the cause of death or the character and extent of changes produced by disease.
In the aftermath of their November election defeat, the Republican Party set out to analyze the reasons for their second straight loss in the pursuit of the Oval Office.

Toward that end, the party faithful commissioned a $10-million research paper outlining the Grand Old Party's liabilities and its overall failure to keep pace with the shift in the nation's attitudes and opinions on lifestyle and morality.

Dubbed in many circles as a postmortem or "autopsy," it is officially titled a "Growth and Opportunity Project" report, and weighs in at 100 pages. Among its observations are:
"Young voters are increasingly rolling their eyes at what the party represents, and many minorities wrongly think that Republicans do not like them or want them in the country. When someone rolls their eyes at us, they are not likely to open their ears to us."

In addition, it declared that:
"America is changing demographically, and unless Republicans are able to grow our appeal the way GOP governors have done, the changes tilt the playing field even more in the Democratic direction."

Amid all these negative tidings, however, the report did offer up a few kernels of hope linking the past with the future:
"The African American community has a lot in common with the Republican Party, and it is important to share this rich history."

Contemporary followers of the political process, however, might take issue with this last sentiment.
Reaching out

"It just does not seem--like not only are we not welcome--not only are we not welcome, but they don't even care what we think."

--Comedian and political commentator D.L. Hughley on the GOP's perception of Black people.
On a recent weekday evening, the University of Southern California branch of the College Republicans held an on-campus screening of the documentary, "Fear of a Black Republican." This film is notable for an attempt by its filmmaker, a New Jersey Irish Catholic, to address the scarcity of people of color in a party that actually freed them from the bonds of slavery.
Afterward, he took pains to point out that he and his family were not members of the elite classes commonly associated with the Republican constituency.

"I believe that anything is realistically achievable if we do not let others put barriers or boxes around us," said director Kevin Williams, mentioning one of the major obstacles facing his party's attempts at expanding its voter base.

"People of color could have a more positive impact on improving their communities as they would at least force the Democratic Party to work better/harder for their interests," he said, in a reference to a commonly voiced sentiment that the Democratic Party, because it habitually takes the Black vote for granted, has no motivation to make an effort toward the pursuit of that group's welfare.

In this, Williams echoes a statement made more then a hundred years ago by the author, educator, and orator Booker T. Washington, who alluded to the leadership of his era as "race-problem solvers" committed to not finding a solution since doing so would eliminate their positions in management.