Skip to main content

The Republican Party's consultant class made a big ballyhoo about changing how it interacts with voters after convincingly losing the 2012 election. They announced new commitments to reach out to the demographic groups that are expanding. They announced they would spend whatever it takes to catch up to the Obama Campaign's advanced technology. They made a lot of announcements, but in the end they couldn't do anything about the loony, nutcase base that forms the foundation of the party and the basis of its political culture. Changing who makes up their base and they way they think is the problem that offers no obvious solution, and they know it:
But those same Republicans who have shepherded countless Senate, House, and presidential candidates should add one more culprit to their list: themselves. Because there's mounting evidence that the party's political class simply isn't good at running campaigns anymore.

They're certainly not as good as the Democrats. The turnout experts, TV whizzes, and all-around gurus of the Grand Old Party have been outnumbered and outsmarted by their adversaries, who have spent a decade retrofitting their entire political infrastructure. The result is a dizzying talent gap between the two parties' political classes, one that shows few signs of closing as the 2014 midterms begin. In some ways, the GOP is years behind on solving a problem that has no quick fixes.

Alex Roarty, writing for National Journal in a piece titled The GOP's Talent Gap, notes that the GOP has spent millions of dollars on new databases. They've recruited, as best they can, some of the brightest minds in Silicon Valley. Setting aside how far they are from the American people because of their increasingly loony policy positions, they have an even greater problem among their political professionals: they simply can't operate in the modern world on the national level:
"If you think [the] reason you lost to Obama is because you didn't have a database, that's just a fundamental misunderstanding," said Patrick Ruffini, one of the party's foremost digital consultants. "The problem lies not so much in not having those specific things. The problem lies in a culture."


"As far as this gap, we've been doing a lot in the last year to close it: buying the technology, buying the talent," said Alex Lundry, who served as Romney's director of data science. "But the thing you can't buy is the culture. And that's the place where we're struggling the most."

Most young Republican operatives view organizing as a mere entry point to a career that will eventually lead to bigger, and better-paying, gigs. "Democrats actually set up and train people to think about those jobs as careers," said Brian Stobie, a partner at the GOP data-management firm Optimus. "A field-organizing roll can be a career over there. In our world, it's a $27,000-a-year job you can't wait to get out of."

"All you're thinking the whole time is, 'I can't wait to get out of this and be the political director,' " he added.

If you're a Republican political operative, you have one path to career success: working your way up to be a Karl Rove type TV ad buyer. But Democrats have a range of fields in which one can advance, from being an expert in field to being an analytics guru. If you're a political professional, there's simply no way to run a modern, advanced, national campaign in the Republican Party. That's going to be a significant weakness for a long time for reasons Roarty only touched on.

That's this: very few young people, especially the most talented, want to be part of a racist, bigoted, backward party of crazy paranoid octogenarians. But the GOP can't change that, because those same people are the base of the party and like things just the way they were in 1840's Alabama.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site