The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday June 26th

National Review blogger talks ‘Grand New Party’

Although his lecture was entitled “The New GOP,” conservative columnist Reihan Salam spent most of the talk discussing what a political party is and what it means to be in a party.

“It’s really about identity and your theory about how the world works,” Salam said, adding that parties are essentially groups of people with similar interests that seek to further ideological goals.

Salam, who writes blog posts and articles for National Review, a conservative magazine, pointed out that while parties can at times create difficult coalitions, they are the main way to affect change.

“If you are someone who wants to achieve social change, you can’t do it on your own,” Salam said. “The question is who I am going to form alliances with.”

In an interview prior to the lecture, Salam, who is also the co-author of the book “Grand New Party,” said it was important for the Republican Party to reshape arguments for the modern working class.

“Our economy and society look very differently than our economy and society did in 1980,” Salam said. “So let’s try to embrace some different approaches in order to be more responsive to those underlying ways that the country has changed.”

But during the lecture, Salam stressed that this should not translate into Republicans giving up conservative values.

“I believe Republicans are going to be able to win elections,” Salam said. “My fear is that they are going to go along with the growth of government,” as opposed to pushing for limited government principles.

Salam also said a stronger economic recovery would allow Latinos to be more receptive to the Republican message.

“If we have a decade of economic stagnation, it’s not beneficial for Republicans,” he said.

Throughout the lecture, Salam allowed for a back-and-forth between him and the audience.

Attendees were pleased with Salam’s application of conservative ideals to real policies.

“I am excited to hear about how the Republican Party can reshape itself and how it can be relevant,” said Kelsey Rupp, CEO of the Carolina Liberty Foundation and co-editor of Carolina Review, both of which sponsored the event.

Similarly, Mitch Kokai, director of communications for the right-leaning John Locke Foundation, said it’s important to have younger conservative speakers like Salam who can connect with students.

“Anyone who is able to reach into a younger crowd and reach them at their level — that’s a great thing,” Kokai said.

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