While flirting with a 2016 presidential bid, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., also outlined how the GOP can expand its base by getting behind defense cuts, as well as marijuana and immigration reform.
Since President Obama’s re-election, the political narrative has centered on the Republican Party redefining itself in the wake of a poor showing amongst key demographics. The conversation has been described as coming to terms with the party being “too white, too old” and “too male.”
In September, Paul told WFPL he foresaw problems with Mitt Romney’s electoral map for this reason. And a recent interview shows the Senator wants the GOP to reach out to Hispanic and younger voters.
From ABC News:
We’re getting an ever dwindling percent of the Hispanic vote,” Paul says. “We have to let people know, Hispanics in particular, we’re not putting you on a bus and shipping you home.”
Paul himself does not favor legalizing marijuana, but he says individual states — such as Washington and Colorado, which both voted to legalize in November — should be allowed to make marijuana legal.
“States should be allowed to make a lot of these decisions,” Paul says. “I want things to be decided more at a local basis, with more compassion. I think it would make us as Republicans different.”
He also says legal penalties for marijuana should be relaxed.
“I think for example we should tell young people, ‘I’m not in favor of you smoking pot, but if you get caught smoking pot, I don’t want to put you in jail for 20 years,’” Paul says.
Paul has also opened the door to compromise, saying that Republicans can agree that not every dollar spent in the defense department is sacred if Democrats can agree to welfare and entitlement reforms.
Amongst observers, Kentucky’s junior Senator is still criticized for some of his libertarian views and association with the Tea Party. However, some pundits are reconsidering Paul as a rising GOP spokesman who can be a leader who others can engage on “positive aspects of his message.”