By Kate Ridenour ’18
On Tuesday, March 29, Cynthia Bryant visited the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum at CMC to discuss the future of the Republican Party in California. Ms. Bryant is the Executive Director of the California Republican Party and previously served as the Policy Director for the California Senate Republican Caucus.
Ms. Bryant focused her talk on how California Republicans can navigate the “badlands” they currently find themselves in. She explained how the party has worked to set realistic goals to broaden its appeal in the state. The first step is to build a bench, that is, to field strong candidates for local offices: school boards, city councils, and county boards. Ms. Bryant cited a number of successes at the local level, including San Diego mayor, Kevin Faulconer, and assembly races that resulted in denying Democrats a super-majority in the state legislature. Additionally, Ms. Bryant explored various demographic trends that may not be favorable to California Republicans and how the party is working to adjust its message in order to attract more Latinos and millennials into the party. She noted that Republican candidates have been somewhat more successful making this connection in Asian communities. The party is trying to have a more positive tone for young voters and encouraging more direct contact between candidates and the communities that the candidates seek to represent. Finally, Ms. Bryant acknowledged that the California Republican Party needs to be more aware of the unaffiliated voters that have become a major force in the current primary election cycle.
As the Republican Party adjusts nationally to the tumultuous race for president, the California Republicans will also continue to undergo a transformation. Ms. Bryant said that while the California Republican Party may be in the “badlands” right now, by readjusting and learning from past mistakes the party can evolve and become a larger force in California and national politics in the future.