RNC 'Autopsy' Ground Game: The Walking Dead

RNC 'Autopsy' Ground Game: The Walking Dead

The Republican National Committee’s Growth and Opportunity Project report is entirely lacking in specifics on how to improve the party’s ground game. In fact, the term “get-out-the-vote” (GOTV) features only four times in the 100-page Growth and Opportunity Project report and is mentioned only in passing.

Mentions of “door-to-door” canvassing are few. On page 24, the report acknowledges that “Democrats had the clear edge on new media and ground game, in terms of both reach and effectiveness. Obama’s campaign knocked on twice as many doors as the Romney campaign, and Obama’s campaign had a ballot edge among those contacted by both campaigns.”

On page 36, the report says: “[w]e need to better understand the role that peer-to-peer contact has in improving direct political communication, and we need to test every form of political communication and contact that we employ. We need to look at our methods of contact and test each–mail, phones, door-to-door, and digital efforts, and fundraising appeals–to determine what provides the best quality of contact and most likely conversion to actual votes.”

Yet most post game electoral analyses, especially the “Inside the Cave” report published by well respected new media firm Engage DC, made clear that the 2012 Obama campaign established that the critical initial contact in establishing an understanding of voter behavior takes place in the person-to-person communication that takes place on the front doorstep of the voter.

Surprisingly, page 57 of the report also suggests that door-to-door efforts could play an important role–in RNC fundraising efforts: “Utilize volunteers to raise money through phone calls, letter writing, email, social media, door-to-door efforts, etc.”

Turning that all important person-to-person communication with potentially persuadable voters on their own front door into yet another fundraising opportunity is perhaps the single most glaring example of how the authors of the Growth and Opportunity Project report fail to understand the mind of the contemporary voter.

The specific ground game and training recommendations found in the report are limited to these three generic suggestions:

  1. Our friends and allies should significantly invest in voter registration and grassroots efforts.
  2. Our friends and allies should develop numerous training opportunities for volunteers and campaign staff including in social media.
  3. Our friends and allies should augment the effort of state parties to include cell phones and email addresses in the voter file.

Nowhere does the report address the failure of the Romney campaign’s election day get-out-the-vote ORCA software program.

Reagan biographer Craig Shirley was unimpressed with the report. “This investigation is like asking Sitting Bull to investigate the battle of the Little Big Horn,” he told Breitbart News.

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