This afternoon, Breitbart News sat down with Sen. Jim DeMint, in advance of his exit from the Senate to take the reigns at the Heritage Foundation. Our conversation primarily focused on the future of the conservative movement and the immediate talks surrounding the “fiscal cliff.” But, one particular exchange was unexpected. Breitbart News asked Sen. DeMint about the newly announced 5-member panel to examine or “audit” the recent campaign and the Republican Party’s outreach and messaging. His answer was a surprise:
I’ll see what they do, but we’re going to do that [auditing the campaign] at Heritage and we’re not just going to do an analysis of other pols. We’re going to go out and do our own research. I know you can’t just ask people what they think, unless you give them cues. Like, what do you think of the word conservative. You can ask them if they call themselves conservative or not. 40% call themselves conservative, but you don’t know what the other 60% think about it. They may not like the word, but they may be conservatives.
I just see, looking at the political handling from the Republican side is so amateurish compared to even what I was doing in marketing fifteen years ago, before I came to Congress. And the ability is there to be so much more sophisticated in targeting markets, segmenting and communicating with them individually.
The Republican Party used to be very good at targeting voters. We asked the Senator what he thinks happened to the party’s ability to do this well:
Well, I think we tend to put political people into positions where we should have CEOs who know how to run things. When you’re running a big organization its not the time for red meat for the grass roots. Its the time to make good people around you with good data. And, there are some groups out there beginning to do that…the expertise is out there.
Yes, it is out there. The work that the Republican Party used to do well is now being done by outside conservative groups like Americans for Prosperity, American Majority and Heritage Action. With just a fraction of the budget the Party commands, groups like these are building an energized infrastructure of grass roots activists.
Talking to DeMint, its clear he wants to aggressively build out this infrastructure, building an almost alternative structure to the GOP. If he succeeds, the question of whether or not the RNC can reenergize itself may be irrelevant.