Rebuilding The GOP: Can Republicans Pitch A Bigger Tent?

With a rainbow coalition of voters propelling President Obama to a decisive Electoral College victory in which all but one battleground state turned blue, election night 2012 was a wake-up call for many Republicans. Now, the GOP is beginning to delve into a long and likely divisive period of self-examination over what it can do to right itself with a rapidly changing America.

The consensus among many top Republican strategists and politicos, from Karl Rove to formerArkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to Sen. Marco Rubio is this: If the GOP can't rebuild a foundation more welcoming to key subsets of the electorate, it runs the risk of being shut out of the White House for good.

But grapple it must, warns Republican strategist Ford O'Connell, "or else [it will be] wiped off the electoral map."

That means immigration reform.

"It's very simple," says Mr. O'Connell, chairman of the Civic Forum PAC in Washington. "We've got to take control of immigration reform."

Republicans can look to rising stars like Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico and Senator Rubio of Florida for leadership on reform, including a better system to admit temporary workers and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants – an ongoing point of contention in the party. Amnesty should be an option "if we can come up with a plan to secure the border," O'Connell adds.

Read more from Husna Haq at The Christian Science Monitor

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Analysis & Political Strategy