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Friday, November 09, 2012

The Demise of the GOP is Greatly Exaggerated

Contrary to the naysayers, the demise of the Republican party is being greatly exaggerated.  Mostly by those with a grudge to bear, all kinds of demands are being made of the Grand Old Party after the defeat of our candidate Tuesday night.  Let's step back and take a breath, shall we?

Despite what the left and probably President Obama himself want you to believe, there is no second term Obama mandate after such a slim victory.  Obama ran for re-election with one campaign weapon - a superior ground game.  The man and his supporting organizations never stopped running after the 2008 victory and it served them well. The perpetual campaign cobbled together a coalition of voters that pushed them to the finish line.

As summarized in The Wall Street Journal:
President Obama won one of the narrower re-elections in modern times Tuesday, eking out a second term with a fraction of his 7.3% margin of 2008, in a polarized country with the opposition GOP retaining and still dominating the House. Given that second Presidential terms are rarely better than the first, this is best described as the voters doubling down on hope over experience. Mr. Obama's campaign stitched together a shrunken but still decisive version of his 2008 coalition—single women, the young and culturally liberal, government and other unions workers, and especially minority voters.
As Rich Galen writes in his piece, the hard facts of the 2012 election results boil down to one glaring bit:
A larger and larger share of a smaller and smaller market is no way to win an election, much less win the future.
You can assess the results by votes in each state here: http://www.cnn.com/election/2012/results/race/president


The glaring failure in the election results is that of the Get Out the Vote (GOTV) effort in four key states:
The answer is pretty simple: the Republican party establishment’s micro-targeting of voters, from surveying voters to a get-out-the-vote, or GOTV, operation — if you can even call it an operation — was a joke. Take Colorado, Florida, Ohio, and Virginia, for example. Had Romney won those states, he would be celebrating victory today. The media would have you believe that he was trounced there. That’s not the case. Romney lost all four states — and the presidency — by less than 400,000 votes. He lost Colorado by 111,000, Florida by 47,000, Ohio by 100,000, and Virginia by 108,000. That’s it. Romney was locked out of the White House by about 366,000 votes.
 
Will this strategy work in 2016?  Probably.  Our nation has changed since the days of the Reagan candidacy when the winning strategy was to convince enough working class Democrats of the wisdom in Republican economic and social policies. Politics is the art of persuasion.  Our candidate, Mitt Romney, though a good man and a solid Republican, was simply unable to connect with the average Joe and Jane in swing states.  For too long, the campaign allowed Team Obama to define him and Romney never went into street fighter mode in retaliation.  In politics, unfortunately, the nice guy's campaign loses. The candidate has to have a fire in his/her belly that responds to attacks by the opponent's campaign.  And, the candidate has to surround himself/herself with people willing to speak truthfully on the ground. We have to accept the winning strategy and make it our own.

Now is the time to get busy. It is human nature to go into the fetal position and declare "that's it, I'm done" when the battle is lost. Now, however, is the worst time to do that. Politics is brutal. It never gets easier. The fact of the matter is that most people don't get involved, other than to go vote on election day, if that. Most people don't have the stomach for the day to day tedious back and forth between those in opposing parties. And, to speak frankly here, most people don't understand politics.

Now is the time to begin the hard work of improving the party, beginning locally and extending it all the way to the top. If you are reading political blogs, you are capable of playing a greater role in local politics. Get out and join groups of like minded people. Whether it is Republican women groups, co-ed Republican groups, Tea Party groups, discussion groups, whatever, all have a place and worth.  Strength in numbers is the key to winning.  Take the first step - simply attend a meeting or gathering.  You will be pleasantly surprised how grateful those in attendance are to see you there. 

In the next few blog posts, I'll talk about what the party needs to do to grow and win.  After I encourage you to get active, to stay in the fight, then I'll toss in my two cents on how we need to move forward. 

Please don't give up.  If you read nothing else here, read those four words. We need you.  America needs you.  No one said this would be easy.





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