The GOP Missed An Opportunity In Virginia

Rush Limbaugh talked about the GOP’s missed opportunity in Virginia at driving a stake through Obamacare and fear into hearts of Democrats. Worse yet, it looks like it was intentional.

The GOP apparently didn’t want to win Virginia because they didn’t want the Tea Party getting credit for it.  But we can also add to that. I think we have to be honest and say that they didn’t care about repudiating Obamacare, either.

Because if there was a place to plant the flag in opposition to Obamacare in the midst of this rollout, it was in that election.  I can’t tell you how frustrating this is.  Here the country is just abandoning Obama and Obamacare as fast as they can on this, and here’s a race where it is albatross of Obamacare is hanging around McAuliffe’s neck.  If the Republicans had gone in there and secured a Cuccinelli victory, do you realize Obamacare would have gotten the blame for McAuliffe’s loss, and do you know what that could have done?

That could have caved the Democrats and Obamacare.  Now, stop and think about this.  This is why this really frustrates me what happened there.  Because if Cuccinelli wins, everybody’s gonna blame Obamacare for McAuliffe’s loss.  They’re not gonna blame McAuliffe. They’re not gonna blame the Clintons.  They would blame Obamacare — and imagine the Democrats running for reelection next year see what happens to a Clinton bagman. He loses an election where he had all the money, he had all the support. …

Can you imagine what that would have done to other Democrats and their support of Obamacare?  It was a chance to plant the flag by the Republicans against Obamacare — to drive a stake, maybe (a little one, at least), through the heart of Obamacare, and the Republicans didn’t take the chance.  That’s the wrong way to put it.  The Republicans didn’t take the opportunity.  Now, we know that the Republican establishment did not want the Tea Party being credited for any victory. (Read More)

Just to be fair, here is what RNC Deputy Press Secretary Raffi Williams sent out this morning on the GOP’s “ground game.” For the sake of brevity I took out most of what was written about New Jersey because Christie didn’t really need their help.

MEMORANDUM

FROM: RNC Political Director Chris McNulty
TO: Republican Allies and Surrogates
RE: RNC Ground Game

After today’s election, many of you have been asking about the RNC’s role in New Jersey and Virginia this year—and about what we’ve been doing to prepare for 2014.

As you know, the RNC began a long-term process earlier this year to build a year-round campaign and fundamentally reshape the party’s approach to politics. Among our priorities were developing a precinct-based voter contact model, creating a voter engagement strategy for minority communities, and better integrating data and digital capabilities to make voter contact more efficient.

These are still works in progress. The new strategies will be fully in place for 2014. However this year’s elections did allow us to test some new models and new ideas. In New Jersey, we accelerated our demographic engagement plans. In Virginia, we focused especially on improving the voter contact model and utilizing new methods and technology. The lessons we learned will be applied in 2014.

[...]

Here’s a look at Virginia:

  • The RNC spent $3 million to support Ken Cuccinelli and the Republican ticket, while building the party’s presence in Virginia.
  • In getting out the vote for Cuccinelli and the Republican ticket, we tested our new precinct-based voter contact model.
  • Precinct Teams, led by Precinct Captains, canvassed neighborhoods using RNC data and new technology.
  • This allowed for a more decentralized approach: individuals could focus on neighborhoods with which they were familiar.
  • By October, we already had twice as many data points as we did at the same point in 2012.
  • We had 50 offices, which was more than 2012.
  • We had 60 staff on the ground, on par with 2012.
  • Our Virginia-based staff included four dedicated to Asian-Pacific American engagement, two for African American engagement, and one for Hispanic engagement.
  • On the communications side, the RNC equipped campaigns with comprehensive communications plans for engaging with minority communities.
  • The RNC ran ads on Korean TV, commissioned a poll of Korean residents and tested targeted digital ads—in addition to other efforts to reach new voters.

Building a truly national party with a year-round presence takes time. But in just a few short months we’ve made much progress. We already have hundreds of staff at work in communities all across the country. Under our new grassroots-based ground game model, we’re organizing at the precinct level, and our staff will work alongside state parties and campaigns to support a team of thousands of Precinct Captains we’ve already recruited. They in turn will be responsible for building Precinct Teams to contact and persuade voters neighborhood by neighborhood.

We’ve made substantial investments in engaging with Hispanic, African American, and Asian-Pacific communities, including staff and offices in Washington, DC, and multiple states. These efforts are based on the same model and organized down to the precinct level. In addition, the RNC is providing playbooks to campaigns for effective minority engagement, giving them resources they otherwise would not have.

All of this work is long-term. It’s about winning in 2014. It’s also about 2016, 2020, and beyond. It’s about laying a foundation for future candidates and campaigns.

The RNC’s mission is to prepare the field for our candidates. Our work continues on in 2014, and we will refine our approach based on what we learned from 2013.

Gone are the days of stockpiling money till a few months before Election Day. The RNC is operating year round and engaging year round. Over the long term, we believe this approach will pay dividends and result in a larger party that wins more elections.

So while McAuliffe (who had anywhere from a 2-1 to a 10-1 money advantage depending on who you listen to) was carpet-bombing Virginia with misleading anti-Cuccinelli ads, the RNC was testing new outreach methods. They only spent about a third on this election as they did when Bob McDonnell ran. An extra $6 million sure would have come in handy for the Cuccinelli campaign, especially after he started closing the gap in the last couple of weeks. Now we’ll have even more disenchanted base voters, who are probably already changing their registration and surely won’t be sending any money to the RNC, the NRCC, the NRSC or any other group attached to the Republican Party. I don’t see how that’s going to help them win in 2014, 2016, 2020 and beyond.

Just as a side note, Cuccinelli beat McAuliffe 51% to 42% among married women. That’s a little nugget that’s been overlooked by the liberal media intent on continuing the war on women meme.

Oh, and don’t you love the way the left constantly screams about too much money in politics when it’s their guys raising money hand over fist from special interest groups and the 1%?