Republicans should pay close attention to the negative response to Indiana’s passage of its Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). While one can argue the intent of those who voted for the law, one cannot dispute the fact that the public clearly sent the message that a law with any possibility of acting as a pretext for discrimination will not be tolerated. While Republicans won big in the most recent federal and state elections, they must recognize that the actions of a few Republicans can damage the reputation and brand of the entire Republican Party. For example, in 2012, Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock’s comments about pregnancy and rape not only cost the Republicans two Senate seats, but they also likely hurt Mitt Romney’s chances to be President. Republicans should discourage their members from delving into those areas in which many people disdain and fear government intervention. Rather, Republicans should focus on those issues with broad public interest and a corresponding clamor for action (such as the economy, education, healthcare, and foreign policy). If Republicans hope to win in 2016, they must not allow a few Republicans to give the wrong impression of the Party as a whole.
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