On Friday, Republicans will continue to show the reasons their rebranding efforts have failed with the African-American community when they host an outreach event in Detroit with none other than Sen. Rand Paul. This is just the latest example of failed Republican outreach efforts over the last decade. In 2003, then-RNC Chair Marc Racicot claimed, "Recruiting new Republican activists from traditionally strong and Democratic constituencies is our number one priority."
Republicans are looking at changing demographics in Michigan and around the country, and they don't like what they see. Forced to confront this new reality, they must choose between changing their policies, or changing the rules whenever they can in order to solidify their grip on power.
They are choosing to change the rules of the game -- as evidenced by the recent Court of Claims power grab pushed through by Republican Gov. Snyder and his legislature, Michigan's crudely-gerrymandered electoral maps, and efforts to rig Michigan's electoral votes so that Republicans can win a share even when they lose the popular vote.
But at the same time, they are desperate to change the GOP's image, claiming they are rebranding the party by opening offices and hiring staff. Republicans don't seem to realize that simply opening offices will not solve their outreach problems -- until they change their policies. And there's no better example of this than Rand Paul.
Just a couple years ago, when he was asked if the country would have been better off if General Motors had been allowed to fail, Sen. Paul said "absolutely."
But today, we know that the auto rescue created over a million jobs, and saved Michigan's economy. Today, the U.S. auto market is headed for a fifth straight year of growth, and the North American auto industry is expanding faster than it has in decades.
That's due in no small part to the efforts of Mark Schauer and Gary Peters to save the industry from total collapse.
Other parts of his record are similarly dismal. In 2013, cheered on by Republicans like Senate candidate Terri Land, Sen. Paul led the charge to shut down the government and lead our country to the edge of default, costing Michiganders hundreds of millions.
And it doesn't stop with Sen. Paul. His actions and words match those of Michigan Republicans. Republican Gov. Snyder cut billions from public schools in Detroit and other communities around the state, all to give a tax handout to corporate special interests. He has also worked with his Republican legislature to place a new unfair tax on pensions. These attacks on our seniors are directly paralleled by Washington Republicans' efforts to privatize Medicare and Social Security, breaking promises made to our seniors.
However, I can say one positive thing about Sen. Paul's visit to Detroit. Already, he's now made more public appearances in Michigan than Senate candidate Terri Land.