After watching Obama get reelected, House Democratic candidates get a million more votes than their GOP rivals, and the Democrats grow their majority in the Senate, the RNC decided it was time for a change. They put their heads together and commissioned a study. In classic DC fashion they held focus groups and paid many consultants a great deal of money.
In the end the RNC came out with what it called its autopsy. It’s official title was the “Growth and Opportunity Project.” The report called for the party to become more inclusive and welcoming of people who have different views on social issues like gay marriage and abortion. Also in there were ways to reach out to Latinos and female voters (particularly single women).
Like 98% of reports like this, it floated around the news cycle for a few days. Was attacked by many and praised by a few. In the end it ended up changing NOTHING.
Case in point, Virginia. In a state where the Democrats nominated a weak candidate whose only claim to fame was being a good political fundraiser, the GOP put up its most socially conservative ticket. The nominee of Governor was the Attorney General who made a career on wanting to ban all abortions, supporting the teaching of creationism, opposing all gay rights measures, and supporting Arizona-style immigration laws. Although it didn’t seem possible the Lt. Governor went one step further saying that Planned Parenthood had done more harm to black people and the KKK.
As you can guess they lost. This was the first time the party that lost previous presidential election had then lost the Virginia Governor’s race since the 1970’s. In a state that is now a swing state the inability of the party to realize it has to put up more moderate candidate tells you how seriously people take changing the party’s image and reaching out.
As this Dana Milbank column suggests the GOP may actually be going in the other direction.