Op-EdAppeared in RealClear Policy on August 10, 2023By Alfredo Ortiz

Republicans Need a Brand Refresh to the “Great Opportunity Party”

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear “The Republican Party?” Many Americans would respond to this word association game with an unfavorable response.

The first Republican presidential primary debate later this month offers the party one of its best opportunities to change negative perceptions. It provides Republicans the chance to directly reach millions of Americans with its unfiltered message. The party should seize this event to rebrand with a positive and uniting economic message. Step one: Change the party’s name from the Grand Old Party to the Great Opportunity Party.

Due to Bidenomics and Bidenflation, many Americans have soured on the Democrat Party. Democrats’ agenda of reckless federal spending and anti-energy has led to declining real wages and living standards. Americans of all backgrounds have to work harder and harder to get by as prices on many everyday products have soared by around 50% over the past couple of years.

As a result, Biden’s approval rating is a historically low 39%. Yet there’s been little corresponding surge in Republican favorability. Democrats resisted a red wave in last November’s midterm elections despite the 41-year high inflation and a recession. The Republican brand is clearly tarnished with broad subsets of the American population.

According to 2022 exit polls, Republicans lost unmarried women by 68% to 31%, minorities by 68% to 30%, and 18- to 44-year-olds by 55% to 42%. They only won suburbanites, their natural constituency, by 52% to 46%. Republicans can garner a second look from these demographics and run up the score in suburban areas by uniting behind the keystone issue of economic opportunity.

Republicans need a brand refresh featuring a single compelling vision rather than complex policy issues most people don’t have time for. They need to focus on the front of the soda can rather than the back. Imagine if Coca-Cola tried to sell its products by pushing the ingredients instead of the overall image. That’s what Republicans are doing when they talk policy.

In contrast, Democrats have successfully focused on front-of-the-can branding as the party who cares, even though their big government ingredients generally make matters worse.

Changing the GOP’s name to the Great Opportunity Party better reflects Republican priorities and would spread a positive message to voters who may not have heard it before. The “Grand Old Party” conjures images of pearl-clutching Southern whites. The Great Opportunity Party channels the American Dream and growing living standards for all.

As I argue in my recent book, “The Real Race Revolutionaries,” entrepreneurship and economic opportunity are the best ways to improve racial and income inequality that many voters prioritize. Black and Hispanic entrepreneurs earn more than average white Americans. Free market policies that accelerate entrepreneurship can boost racial equality and social harmony far more than activism or big government. Republicans should proudly claim this mantle.

This uniting message starkly contrasts with the divisive Democrat one of carving people up based on their racial and economic characteristics. Democrats are the party of dividing up the pie, whereas Republicans are the party of growing it. Democrats are the party of European-style socialism, while Republicans are the party of financial independence for anyone willing to work for it. Democrats are the party of the institutional elite, and Republicans are the party of Main Street.

Republicans can still promote back-of-the-can messaging of tax cuts, deregulation, school choice, market-based healthcare reform, and cultural sanity. But this should come after ordinary Americans have been hit with a positive front-of-the-can message.

Republicans will know they’re successful when people associate the party with entrepreneurship, high wages, and opportunities for people of all backgrounds to improve their lives. The first step is to change the old party name into something truly grand

Alfredo Ortiz is president and CEO of Job Creators Network, author of The Real Race Revolutionaries, and co-host of the Main Street Matters podcast.