Michael Zak, the author of Back to Basics for the Republican Party, said at a recent gathering of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Chester County that the current GOP leadership needs to emphasize the party's history if it hopes to woo new voters.
Zak, a regular speaker at Republican events across the country, argued that the party fails to highlight its history as an anti-slavery, then pro-Reconstruction, party in the 19th century, and as a supporter of the civil-rights movement in the 20th century.
"We rarely fight back," Zak said before a room of roughly 30 people at the Desmond Hotel in Malvern. "It's time to embrace our true heritage — undistorted by all those history books written by Democratic professors.
"We should all be one-issue voters — keeping Democrats out of the White House," he added.
The July 5 breakfast marked the kick-off of the RJC's new Chester County branch.
Scott Feigelstein, executive director of the Pennsylvania/ Southern New Jersey chapter of the RJC, said that it's now holding programs in both Chester and Bucks counties to help expand the 22-year-old, Washington, D.C.- based organization.
He added that it's also an attempt to court support for the GOP in counties with growing Jewish populations, and where Democrats now compete in areas that were once solidly Republican.
For instance, last year when Andrew Dinniman won a special election for the 19th Senate District, he became the first Democrat to represent the county since 1990. And in 2006, Barbara McIlvaine Smith's razor-thin victory for the 156th House district gave the Democrats an equally narrow majority in Harrisburg.
On the flip side, many expected U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-District 6) to lose his congressional seat. But he held on, largely by winning the Chester County portion of the district.
"We certainly increased our voter registration," said Michele Vaughn, chair of the Chester County Democratic Committee. "We are outpacing Republican registration by at least 2-1."