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