When it comes to real strategy, not candidates on Letterman or The View but disctrict-by-district & boots-on-the-ground strategy, the GOP has been rather silent. We haven’t seen massive get-out-the-vote efforts and nearly all of the media attention has been covering national polls, gaffes, TV ads and what the candidates are doing on Facebook. So the fourth estate and the pundit class is spelling doom for Republicans across the nation and suddenly predicting the loss of the House.
A report in The Hill today sheds a little more light on some GOP strategizing and gives me a little hope that the silence is more cloak and dagger than incompetence.
The gist is this. As the presidential campaign focuses on swing states many candidates fighting in places that aren’t competitive for Romney lose out on funding and attention. The loss of these “orphan” districts could lose the House majority especially because many exist in blue states that have otherwise been entirely written off by the GOP.
In February of last year, Boehner tasked his political staff with developing a program through the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) that would partner with state party operations that lack resources in a presidential election year. The joint venture is unique because the NRCC has traditionally focused on messaging, polls and TV ads.
But this effort on get-out-the-vote and other ground-game initiatives has historically been run by the Republican National Committee (RNC).
With half (approximately 25) of the competitive House races in orphan states, Boehner called for a shift in strategy.
A political staffer familiar with the situation said that “the whole orphan dilemma was that you’ve got, effectively, the majority hanging in the balance of states that are not going to get any attention from the presidential campaign. They are not going to get a single dollar … to do the voter identification, to do the turnout, to do those basic blocking and tackling.”
Democrats believe their path to the majority runs through blue states, such as California, Illinois and New York. In a memo earlier this year, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee wrote that Boehner is “rightfully concerned” that his majority hangs on outcomes in left-leaning states.
Republican officials say Boehner is essentially using a page from Karl Rove’s political playbook, which uses “microtargeting” strategies to turn out GOP voters.
I recommend reading the entire article.
I live in the blue state of New York and while I am typically surrounded by all-out communists there are many pockets where true conservatism reigns supreme. I live in one. We have farmland, guns, God, country music and a desire for limited government. Our typical problem is two-fold. Gerrymandered districts where our voice is silenced and fair weather Republicans act so much like Democrats they aren’t worth showing up to support.
Republicans need to start showing up in blue states the same way Democrats have been invading the south. I am glad to see Boehner focusing energy on doing just that.
Meanwhile my one hope for the presidential and Senate campaigns is that more energy is being spent on the ground game than is being reported. If -Romney and Rove (American Crossroads) are the organizers and strategic thinkers they are made out to be, then they are working in the shadows to move voters in small towns and in forgotten areas of swing states. So that on Election Day voters not counted in media polls or on their radar show up on force like they did in 2010.
If they aren’t, we are doomed. It is that simple. This election comes down to moving thousands of voters, not millions.