This month, the Republican Party completes its autopsy of what went wrong in the 2012 presidential election. I should have thought the reason for losing was obvious.
In 2008, the Obama campaign opened three times as many field offices staffed with paid workers in key states as John McCain. President Obama did the same in 2012. In the five key states that provided the margin of victory this time around, Obama's campaign mined the communities in which his support was strongest. They had paid staffers with golf carts corralling students at colleges and taking them to early voting centers; same with vans in minority neighborhoods. What did Mitt Romney have? Volunteers asking people to pretty please vote for him. Instead of meeting Obama's challenge in these key states, Romney's campaign consultants enriched themselves by placing millions of dollars in ads, which got lost in the noise. If these consultants aren't driving golf carts in senior centers next time around, they don't deserve a job.
In the end, Obama beat Romney in key states by fewer than 500,000 votes. A more effective get-out-the-vote campaign for Romney would have made all the difference.
There's a lot of talk in GOP circles about the need to moderate the tone and message and do more to reach out to women and minorities. All well and good, but it won't count for much if you can't get these folks to the polls. The candidate who gets the most votes wins. It's that simple.
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