Some will say Mitt was not conservative enough, others will say his statement that he was “Extremely conservative” was a kiss of death and there are various and sundry claims in between. One fact remains, this year with exception of a few conservative challengers most notably Ted Cruz in Texas, conservatives did not do well in the challenge races. Richard Mourdock, Tommy Thompson and Todd Akin are examples. There is more to winning than simply being a conservative.
There is also the crowd that says the problem was in the messaging. Of course many of these folks are in the messaging business, biased opinions anyone? Sure Mitt could have explained some of his ideas and plans better; but then the President hasn’t explained anything except for all of the things the GOP would take from everybody.
So what really happened? It was a tactical failure of the party not so much a messaging or degree of conservatism failure.
Many Libertarians and Ron Paul supporters skewed the vote as they said they would. They were very active across the nation in local party, congressional district committee and state party committee elections securing many positions in the Quadrennial year reconstitution of party officers and delegate seats to the state and national conventions. This should have been evident as it was happening and the magnitude of severity recognized especially after experiences at state and local conventions and at the RNC convention in August.
It is a necessity to vote for delegates to state and national conventions in the Quadrennial year, but to elect new party leadership just months before the Presidential cycle elections as is the case with many states like Virginia; is itself an invitation to disaster. At very least an invitation to disruption as the Ron Paul supporters provided at the National Convention. In Virginia for example, AG Ken Cuccinelli had a slate of preferred candidates for the Republican Party of Virginia State Central Committee and delegates to the RNC Convention that leaned heavily toward Libertarians and Ron Paul supporters. That slate did remarkably well in the District convention elections, but then many of them went on to provide great embarrassment to the Republican Party at the national convention, with the help of other Libertarian and Paul supporters from other states.
RNC & State Victory programs ran top down programs and ignored the needs of grassroots activists as they have in the past few elections. Collateral materials were refused them for efforts outside of the Victory program, even for 20-30 year party stalwarts. Collateral materials were late or in short supply even for the Victory program. Again as in 2008 there was mass confusion between presidential campaign staff, RNC staff and state party staffs in determining who had what responsibilities. Some of the short supply and logistical confusion was a result of the short 2 month campaign period due to a late August RNC Convention.
Obama started actively campaigning in the streets in January, giving him effectively an 8 month head start. The RNC has done conventions as early as July, why not in this all important year buy as much time for a concerted effort as possible?
The GOP did not go toe to toe with the Obama grassroots machine by ignoring Texting and largely not using other Social media effectively. Again Obama humbled the GOP with his use of the text and the tweet.
In addition Romney and the GOP ignored the largest and a fast growing voter block in America, the Hispanic vote. This is a community that shares the values and principles of the GOP right down the line, yet a large majority vote Democrat, because there has been no effective outreach to them. The GOP’s efforts this year amounted to little more than window dressing.
I think the RNC, Romney campaign, many state and local committees and many Congressional campaigns believed Obama was so bad he couldn’t possibly win reelection. Even Mitt admitted that he had only prepared a victory speech! As a result they did not put as much effort into the election as was required. Couple this with the rejection of any grassroots efforts that ran outside of the Victory operation and you had an inevitable disaster.
Obama’s folks knew that he looked bad, so they went to work in earnest as early as January while our nominating process was still going on, not to mention how brutal the GOP primary fight was. And Team Obama was smart, working under the radar and using paid help to knock doors and phone bank. Voter registration and outreach into the Hispanic community were top priorities. There were many allegations of voter fraud but they probably won’t amount to enough to change the outcome, at least not of the presidential election… but we need to pursue each and every allocation just in case the ever growing reports really are more massive than expected', plus there could be downline elections affected positively by those recounts, like Allen West in Florida. And just like with the grassroots secession movements presently going on; both remind the White House and others that the American people are paying attention.
There you have it; there is no magic bullet to fix the problem facing the GOP. They have to realize they must work harder and smarter, not take their base for granted and always be wary of the Libertarians; too many of them have recently shown they are only in it to support their candidates and endorsees or to otherwise skew things for the GOP. And for heaven’s sake do not ignore the Latino vote!
Execution, tactics and logistics were key determinants in the loss. Messaging and candidates records played a lesser role. Obama’s win was proof of that, if the electorate was paying attention to the message or the candidates records, no way could Obama win reelection. The dumbing down of our population and the manipulation of the news by the left leaning media are certainly two large components in that arena.
Most voters are predisposed to vote one way or the other. Certainly there are some independent swing voters that need cajoling and will respond to a strong articulate message, but the winning game changer is who can do the best job to energize, pump up and rally their base to go to the polls on E-day. 3-million less conservatives turned out to vote for Mitt Romney than they did for John McCain, enough to have made the difference, and Sarah Palin could certainly have been responsible for the enthusiasm of those 3-million turning out! Pundit, Pollster and former Bill Clinton Advisor Dick Morris says the real reason Romney didn’t win is that the whites who supported Romney didn't turn out to vote. If that is the case, we can only shake our heads!!
If the GOP wants to win in the future they are going to have to adjust their tactical plan and learn to listen to and support the GOP grassroots activists, after all they are the feet in the street, the voice on the phones and the keys to voter turnout.
Success is not measured by numbers of attempted contacts it is measured by the votes on Election Day that resulted from live in person contacts.
To ignore the grassroots and the base is to accept defeat.
Bobby Jindal, who is set to become chairman of the Republican Governors Association, has called on the party to reshape its tone when presenting ideas, especially to constituencies that traditionally vote Democratic. “We already have one liberal party”, he said, “We don’t need another one. We need to change the delivery or our message and outreach!”