Our candidates built a ground game. Theirs aren't bothering.
In 2008, Democrats were locked in a protracted primary season between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. While Republicans chortled at the time, it proved to have worked to their disadvantage, and Obama won the White House easily.
Naturally, Republicans are trying to spin their 2012 woes as a positive, akin to the Democrats in 2012.
The differences abound—Obama and Clinton kept it much more civil between each other. Remember the Clinton ad that questioned Obama's ability to pick up the phone at 4 AM? Vicious! And given that Clinton and Obama pretty much agreed with each other ideologically, they weren't forced to tug each other out of the mainstream. I mean, Republicans are debating access to birth control!
Furthermore, Republicans nominated a weak senator who wasn't able to rally his base or raise any money. Democrats don't have to worry about that this year.
But here's another reason—both Obama and Clinton built a massive state-by-state infrastructure as they contested states deep into the calendar. That infrastructure is what allowed Obama to shock in states like Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia. And even activated Democrats in hopelessly red states were recruited to partake in the national effort, whether it was by shipping them to swing states, or virtual phonebanking, or whatnot.
Contrast this to Republicans 2012:
Illinois hasn't played a major role in a Republican nominating contest since 1988, when voters here sided with then-Vice President George H.W. Bush over then-Kansas Sen. Bob Dole. Officials here say the presidential campaigns seem almost surprised that they have wound up competing in Illinois this year, and they see little evidence of robust get-out-the-vote operations [...]
Likewise, voters and local political operatives say the candidates have not devoted much time or money to phone calls or mail; instead, a super-PAC supporting Mr. Romney has spent nearly $2.5 million on television ads in the state, while a group supporting Mr. Santorum has spent roughly $300,000.
The Democratic primary in 2008 built up
the party. The Republican primary in 2012 is systematically destroying
each other as they race to the ideological extremes.
Which one will have left their party in better shape for the November elections? It's no contest.
There's a reason Republicans (and Romney, in particular) have so drastically underperformed in turnout.