The California Republican Party’s push to appeal to a wider demographic of voters dominated the rhetoric at this weekend’s biannual convention in Burlingame. Featuring Town Hall events for Asians, Latinos, and young Republicans, the convention focused on the ways in which the party can communicate with voters directly, unveiling a new social media strategy as their “secret weapon.”
Speaking on Friday, Chairman to the California Republican Party (CPR) Thomas Del Beccaro told members of the Executive Committee he intended to reach voters by providing them practical solutions, not labels. He later admitted at the first ever Asian Town Hall Event that the party hasn’t worked hard enough at inclusion and growth in past years and pointed to a “communication deficit” while explaining low voter registration among the party.
Reaffirming the need for outreach, Rep. Kevin McCarthy told reporters Friday after his speech,
“If we ever want to become the majority, we have to be able to bring a larger number of Latinos in, a larger number of the Asian population into the Republican Party.”
Struggling to remain relevant in the liberal leaning state, the Republican Party used this weekend as an opportunity to explain their new “digital strategy”. As part of Del Beccaro’s push to “reach voters with practical solutions, not labels,” Republicans hope that online strategies can help the party rebrand themselves as a “party of yes”. Their arsenal of digital weapons will include new website enhancements, a private online primary, social media training on a county level, cloud computing, and a new mobile application.
As part of their push towards social media, Republicans held their first ever “Social Media Training Workshop”, featuring CEO of ElectionMall.com Ravi Singh, CRP Communications Strategist Micah Grant, and political blogger Jenny Erikson, who all urged Republican leaders to jump on the Twitter train. Aimed at increasing voter turnout, a large portion of their strategy focused on Facebook and Twitter. But despite the strong call to action, many workshop attendees remained skeptical of their ability to use social media.
Micah Grant, social media strategist for the CRP, explained afterwards:
“It’s a generational issue. The only way to overcome resistance to social media is to dive right in with training and teach them how to use strategic marketing, county by county.”
And while it may seem like an uphill battle, the CRP is not starting from scratch. Their Facebook page already has almost 6,000 fans and as of today, their Twitter account has 9,546 followers, just 454 shy of Micah’s goal of 10,000. The California Republican Party also actively live-streamed, live-tweeted, and posted updates on Facebook and their website throughout the three-day conference.
In a state with only 30% registered Republican voters and the fastest growing population of unaffiliated voters, will a robust social media strategy be enough to revive the endangered party?