The Pro-Marriage GOP Can’t Get Engaged

Sara Marie Brenner photo

Sara Marie Brenner is the Creator/Editor of, and host of “The Brenner Brief” talk show.

The Republican Party is pro-marriage and pro-family. The party tout’s the platform, and then gets hammered when an elected Republican has an affair or a “wide stance.” In policy, the party supports marriage; however, in practice, the Republican Party cannot even get engaged.

“Engagement” takes on two meanings in this case: figuratively, if “marriage” is someone voting for the Republican Party; and, literally, in terms of communication and keeping the voting pool engaged with the party between elections and during a campaign. The literal aspect — communication-related engagement — leads to the figurative engagement and marriage that allow Republicans to win elections.

Despite his eerie appearance, Jim MessinaPresident Barack Obama’s campaign manager — knows how to engage the left. Messina and Obama’s campaign worked with the nation’s leading technology experts to find ways to engage the base, as well as potential voters. In addition, Obama is using the database now to promote his legislative ideas and remain in communication with the people who elected him, connecting the campaign resources with the process of governing in a way that no other president has done to date.

People do not just want to be talked to. It’s one thing to send emails, place robo-calls, mail lit pieces and run advertisements. However, it’s quite another to have apps where people can post comments and receive responses from someone on the campaign staff, receive a text message with ways the voter can interact with his/her legislators to help Obama move his ideas forward, connect with other Obama voters in your neighborhood for support and comradery, and other engagement mechanisms the Democrats have in place. There were opportunities on Facebook to see which of your friends had not yet “liked” Obama’s page, and be able to share Obama’s page with them, along with your personal testimonial, with the click of a button. Not only did Obama’s technology allow him to engage with his supporters, but it allowed those supports to help him gain new voters Obama had not yet reached. Brilliant, yes, but actually — it should be common sense for both parties in this era.

The Republican party seems to just send a text message with instructions, and consider you to have been “engaged.” Again, talking to someone is much different from engaging them and actually having a conversation with them — even if it is the appearance of one.

I am still receiving emails from the Democrat party. Granted, these are talking to me, but they all have a call to action asking me to engage with someone, or do something to help the cause and remain part of the program. While I certainly won’t do that for the left, I have not received any such communication from the Republicans since Nov. 7. This is where the Republicans have it wrong — the battle ended Nov. 6, but the war continues. Why, then, wouldn’t the party want to continue to grow its database, electoral base, and good will during the “down time” before the next election? The communications systems in place are not only good for campaigning. Certainly, they must realize that over there in someone’s cubicle at the RNC?

I have volunteered for the Republican Party many times; yet, I and others who do so are never appreciated, and the party does not continue to communicate with us on a regular basis — locally, state-wide and nationally. Why is the party allowing its volunteers to be dropped like a hot potato after the election for which they volunteered is over? Where is the ongoing engagement with those individuals to keep them in the fold to make sure they remain connected and informed? Who is going to want to volunteer again when they are only valued for a few weeks during a campaign every two or four years?

It takes a little bit of time to engage with people, of course. However, it builds the relationship and provides for important communication from the party faithful. In addition, the party would have a massive mobilization unit available to it — as the Democrats have for Obama. Whether it be social media, teleconferences, in person events, or even your local Republican Party appreciating you year round rather than dropping you Nov. 7, the Republican Party has to better “engage” with people if they want voters to “marry” them on Election Day. The courting process for marriage is no different than it is for voting, and you have to work on your marriage — you cannot just remember it every year on your anniversary.

At times, I vent that I want to take over the communications and outreach departments at the RNC. Perhaps with the lack of a White House transition to plan, the party can take this time to reevaluate its lack of engagement with voters and learn from the successes of the Democrat communications and technology teams. We are only falling further behind as a party, but we can reverse that path with a dedication to engage with the volunteers, Republican base, independents, Tea Party members and other voters who are so important for the party’s overall success.



  1. Who is the GOP supposed to engage? The GOP voters who vote Republican in every election, in spite of the candidates the entrenched GOP elites shove down voters throats? The Republican voters who know there’s a real problem with the way the country is being run but know people like Ron Paul aren’t viable candidates? The ones who sign up every election cycle to work for and promote candidates they aren’t sure are much better than the guy they currently have, but they’re willing to take a chance because the guy they currently have is just so bad? They already have those people. They don’t need to communicate with us (I too voted for McCain and Romney).

    The GOP could engage the Tea Party voters, but that would mean they’d have to defend the people the Democrats and MSM have labeled “nuts” or “Tea Baggers”. That would take courage and moral fiber, and actually going against the grain. The GOP is not interested in any of that. They’d rather stay in their towers in Washington, D.C. and wage phony wars with the left; make big, strong statements about how the left is wrong and they’re not going to take it anymore – until the MSM starts criticizing them, saying they hate women and Latinos and America! Then they’ll fall back in line with what the left and the Democrats want, and things will go on as they’ve gone on for the last 20 years. They’re not interested in winning elections. They’re not interested in engaging voters.

    Winning elections and engaging voters would mean promoting people like Michele Bachmann , Allen West, Richard Mourdock and Ted Cruz. What if they support these “radical” politicians and they lose? The GOP elites are too afraid that promoting true conservatives and conservative values would mean they would lose the power they cherish so much. And don’t doubt for an instant that they cherish their power.

    The problem with the GOP is they’d rather have the media and the left “like” them (and not pick on them) than to stand for what’s right. The problem with the GOP is they don’t really believe in their platform. The problem with the GOP is they’re more like the progressives than the conservatives. They like it that way and that’s the way it will stay – unless… Unless conservatives and Tea Partiers can continue the grassroots efforts they began in 2008… “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

    • You ask “who is the GOP supposed to engage,” but then proceed to answer your own question. But, that’s a good thing! I agree with you for the most part.

      Where I don’t agree with you is on the statements you made in the last paragraph. The GOP certainly does believe their platform — at least, the ones who create it. There again, the Republicans don’t engage the right people within the party to make sure that a platform is adopted that truly represents the grassroots of the party.

      I do not in any way agree that the GOP is “more like the progressives than the conservatives.” Yes, we have some moderate and liberal Republicans, but they are not progressive. These statements that Romney is just like Obama infuriate me — Romney does not support socialist policies, he doesn’t have an interest in destroying America (anti-colonialism), and he does not believe that the government should be in control of everything. Then, many other policy differences exist as a result of those primary beliefs.

      Your points are certainly valid ones and well thought out. However, even if Bachmann is promoted, for example, it will not do us any good if the engagement, communication and efforts are not there with the voting citizenry. What happens on stage is irrelevant if no one is there to watch.

      • Perhaps I didn’t explain myself well enough. Let me try again.

        Mitt Romney was not my choice. His MA healthcare plan was the model for Obamacare. He signed an assault weapons ban as governor. He was not always so pro-life as he was in his run for president. Many of his policies and positions seemed to be progressive-lite, rather than conservative heavy. Not to mention the fact that he seemed unable to eloquently express the merits and superiority of conservatism, if pressed; it never seemed to be something he knew in his soul. (Having said that, I liked him a thousand times better than I liked McCain, who I am convinced is a RINO.)

        When Romney won the nomination, I supported him wholeheartedly and kept my concerns to myself. The time to criticize him as a candidate expired as soon as he became the nominee. If I wanted someone else as the nominee, I should have done more to support my preferred candidate and convince others it was in their best interest to support him as well when there was really a competition among hopefuls. Once Romney was nominated, it was evident that stopping Obama was more important than griping that I didn’t have the “perfect” candidate to vote for. For all my misgivings about Romney, he was NOT like Obama. And I found a lot of comfort in the fact that I positively knew that Romney loves this country.

        Now that you know where I’m coming from, I will plainly state that if the GOP was interested in winning, they would reach out to the Tea Party. They have not. It’s not an exaggeration to say that, given the opportunity to support Tea Party candidates or throw them under the bus, the GOP has mostly elected to throw them under the bus. Which leads me to ask: Why? Why would the GOP refuse to actively support candidates who ardently support the things the GOP claims to support? Why would the GOP choose to actively support candidates who take more “moderate” stances on just about any issue you can think of?

        I look at the history of this Republic, its founding, our Constitution and Bill of Rights, and what we have accomplished since we won our independence from Great Britain. We are not able to succeed because we were so “moderate”. We were able to succeed because we stuck to our principles as laid out in our founding documents. We only began to veer off track when we wandered away from the guidelines laid out for us in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. So, when you find you’re headed the wrong way, is it best to continue to veer? Or should you turn around and go back to get back on track? The GOP is insistent that we continue to veer to correct course. That’s ridiculous.

        I disagree with you that the entrenched elites in DC believe in the GOP platform. I maintain that if they did believe in the platform, they would actively support the candidates who BEST identify with the party ideals, whether they believe that candidate has a shot at winning or not. But our party seems to be bent on supporting whoever seems to have the best chance to win. And we lose anyway. It’s time to unapologetically promote candidates who are incorruptible, who have the courage of their convictions (even when their convictions aren’t popular), who will use the Constitution as their Bible when deciding how to vote on legislation… In short, we need politicians who aren’t politicians.

        You said, “Even if Bachmann is promoted, for example, it will not do us any good if the engagement, communication and efforts are not there with the voting citizenry.” But I maintain that promoting and supporting people like Bachmann is the perfect opportunity for the GOP to communicate with the American public exactly why Conservatism is right and Liberalism is poison. We who identify ourselves as “Tea Party” would be over-the-moon-in-love with the GOP if they stood for people who stood for what’s right. And the GOP would have an opportunity to undo some of the liberal brainwashing we all face every day, even to the point that they could win the more “moderate” of the party back to Conservatism.

        You also said, “There again, the Republicans don’t engage the right people within the party to make sure that a platform is adopted that truly represents the grassroots of the party.” It’s not the Republicans who don’t engage the right people. It’s the people who control our party, the ones at the top. They’re the same ones who drop everyone like hot potatoes as soon as the election is over. It’s time for some new blood at the top. It’s time to kick out the old guard and bring in the new. Which goes back to your point of how they communicate with us! If we can’t un-entrench the entrenched, we’ll NEVER win another presidential election again.

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