Republicans must abandon corporate welfare and learn to leave Americans alone if they want to win elections

The Republican Party has a fever, and Sen. Rand Paul has the cure. In an interview with Reason’s Nick Gillespie at last week’s Lincoln Labs’ Reboot Conference, the Kentucky Republican explained that the GOP can find electoral success if they learn how to stay out of Americans’ personal lives and abandon corporate welfare.

Paul and Gillespie chatted about several topics — including the seemingly shifting political dynamics in Silicon Valley, innovation and regulations, and foreign policy — before moving onto

“I think Republicans could only win in general if they become more live and let live — ‘leave me alone,’” said Paul. “Grover Norquist will talk about this sometimes, this ‘Leave Me Alone’ Coalition.” He explained that the GOP may not be a “pro-choice, pro-gay marriage party,” but he envisions one in which people with differing views on social issues work together to limit the federal government.

“And I think that live and live, agree to disagree kind of amalgamation in the party will allow us to be big enough to win,” he said, adding that Republicans can reach out to reach out to Millennials with a pro-privacy, anti-NSA message. 

Gillespie asked the Kentucky Republican if he planned to vote against the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank. Paul, who voted against the Bank in 2012 and plans to do so again, explained the GOP has a real chance to take a stand against corporate welfare with this vote.

“I think a lot of people, if they knew we had to cut all of the corporate welfare in order to have a more reasonable government that can pay for itself, I think all of a sudden people will say, ‘You know know what, that’s an honest Republican,’” said Paul. “What they don’t like is a Republican who says, ‘You know what, I’m cutting the food stamps, but by golly I’m keeping the corporate welfare.’ That’s an untenable position and Republicans need to cast that off.”

Paul is one of few Republicans who are reaching out to voters, including minorities and young people, who are typically sought after by the party. He’s also one of the few who understands that, in order to change perceptions, the GOP has to shed its image as the party of Big Business.

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