Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty on the future of the GOP

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Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty delivers a speech before his hometown Chamber of Commerce on May 5, 2017.
Brian Bakst | MPR News 2017

Minnesota has three living Republican former governors: Al Quie who served from 1979 to 1983, Arne Carlson who served from 1991 to 1999, and Tim Pawlenty, who was governor from 2003 to 2011.

Gov. Pawlenty has recently been writing about what the GOP needs to do to modernize and to recognize cultural, demographic and societal change in America, while staying “true to our principles.” Leaders need to “inform, inspire and motivate," he says.

Pawlenty says there are two factions in the GOP now, “Trumpism” and “Reagan conservatism.” We need to “fuse them,” he says, because neither faction can win without the other.

The Republican Party needs to recognize the importance of free speech, support LGBTQ rights and same-sex marriage, address climate change, and “make the benefits of capitalism more available to everybody, as a way to push back against the naive, but rising, call for socialism in our country.”

Speaking to the differences between the two parties, Pawlenty said “Democrats tend to put their thumb on the scale in favor of equality — and not just equal opportunity but increasingly equal outcomes — using government as the force to do that. While Republicans put their thumb on the scale for liberty and not wanting government overreach to squash or suffocate liberties.“

He spoke earlier this week — by remote connection — at the University of Minnesota Humphrey School, and was hosted by professor Larry Jacobs.

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