Political Malpractice: The GOP Should Have Had Bigger House Gains

“Our success last Tuesday is covering up some very fundamental and institutional problems that will hurt us in 2012.”

Just the facts. That’s all I’m going to give you here — no blame game. No names.Largely because I don’t want RNC people calling and crying and trying to spin me when all I’m doing is pointing out some facts.It has been suggested that the reason the GOP didn’t take more Senate seats is because of conservatives. The facts show otherwise.What the facts show is that while you and I are focused on the most House pickups since 1948, we probably should have made even bigger House gains. Likewise, we probably could have taken the Senate. Losing the Senate had nothing to do with conservative candidates and everything to do with GOTV.Success has a way of covering up problems.You can decide who to blame, all I am doing is giving you the facts.First, consider this: A number of Republicans underperformed their polling by several points. Typically, polling leans slighting Democrat, so for the GOP to underperform that much indicates a real problem. Now, consider this: Washington State and Colorado did not have gubernatorial contests. They were two of the closest Senate races. Well, okay, Colorado did, but not with the Republican being competitive. In other states, the race was so lopsided that last minute resources did not have to be spent on gubernatorial contests in several states.The RNC did not have a 72 hour program this year. Instead, the RNC relied on the Republican Governors Association’s get out the vote program.1Guess what? Neither Washington State nor Colorado saw the RGA pouring significant sums into a GOTV program because in Washington there was no race and in Colorado the Republican was toast and everyone knew it.In New York, the RGA spent no money and we have seen the GOP lose some House races narrowly. In Arizona, the RGA spent only $500,000.00 and we saw some House races go down in flames. The story played out across the nation. Where the RGA did not put a pile of money in, the Republicans had no significant ground game and lost races narrowly.More troubling, even when the RGA did pour money in, there was no high level coordination for a last minute get out the vote program. The RGA program is largely an absentee ballot program, not a “get people to the polls” program — that requires the GOP’s highly praised and highly successful 72 Hour program.Except this year they did not use it.Consider this from the Nevada GOP’s website; it is an article from Roll Call:


Since the Senate adjourned Sept. 29, high-ranking Democratic staffers have hitched up with campaigns in West Virginia, Nevada and other battleground states, while many GOP aides are nervously idling in Washington, D.C., frustrated with their party’s decision to suspend its last-minute get-out-the-vote deployment. “We will lose races because of this,” said one senior Senate GOP aide, referring to the Republican National Committee’s inability to coordinate the traditional 72-hour GOTV effort for House and Senate races. Though its name implies a three-day deployment, in past years Capitol Hill staffers left as soon as Congress adjourned in order to help in tight races.

To recap: The GOP lost a significant number of very close House and Senate races. What do they all have in common? They were in states that the RGA was not heavily invested in and the RNC did not deploy a 72 Hour program to get people to the polls.In addition, there was the $8 million last minute sum put into California by the National Republican Senatorial Committee instead of offsetting the ground game in Washington and Colorado that the RNC did not fund.These are just the facts. You decide who to blame.What’s my point? It’s simple. While Republicans relish having the Democrats keep Nancy Pelosi around, the Democrats are doing the same with Republicans who keeping around some of their leaders. Our success last Tuesday is covering up some very fundamental and institutional problems that will hurt us in 2012.


  1. The RNC is pushing back saying they do have a 72 hour program, but as this Roll Call article notes the on the ground people in the field stuff was cancelled.



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