Republicans are great at attracting money, but they don’t seem to know what to do with it.
Democrats had the help of a major ally in the quest to modernize their campaigns: unions. The labor movement might seem like an odd generator of cutting-edge tactics but, squeezed by declining membership and funds, it has turned into an innovation factory for the party. Michael Podhorzer, the AFL-CIO’s political director, was a founder of the Analyst Institute, a group dedicated to testing the best methods for voter contact and persuasion.
Republicans don’t hurt for allies. But many of them, like the Karl Rove-founded super PAC American Crossroads and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, follow a simple formula: Raise a bunch of money and spend it on TV ads. It’s not exactly a revolutionary way to conduct campaigns. “What is the third-party group that is equivalent to the labor movement on our side?” Lundry asked. “Is it the chamber? Probably not.”
Unlike unions, those GOP-leaning groups don’t invest much in the ground game, which, to many GOP operatives who do work in the field, is part of a bigger problem. The GOP’s political class simply doesn’t value that kind of work, even if it’s increasingly important in the 21st century.
Most young Republican operatives view organizing as a mere entry point to a career that will eventually lead to bigger, and better-paying, gigs. “Democrats actually set up and train people to think about those jobs as careers,” said Brian Stobie, a partner at the GOP data-management firm Optimus. “A field-organizing roll can be a career over there. In our world, it’s a $27,000-a-year job you can’t wait to get out of.”
This is a fascinating article, but it seems to me even the Republicans who are trying to “change the culture” are still oblivious about what their real problems are. For example:
A few GOP consultants say the party’s conservative philosophy hinders the sharing of its best ideas—both with other Republican campaigns and within individual campaigns themselves. “We are so individualistic on the Republican side, both in our philosophy and policy,” Harris said. “It definitely bleeds over into how we are managing and structuring campaigns. And we have to break that.”
This is BS. The problem is not that they are too “individualistic.” The problem is that they are too “narcissistic.” It’s not the same thing.
Young Democrats are working for something. They’re working for economic justice, racial and gender equality, reproductive and marriage rights, the planet itself.
What are young Republicans working to achieve, other than winning elections? What noble cause can they dedicate themselves to? Other than some people (preferably them ) getting rich? Some of them are working against economic justice, racial and gender equality, etc., of course. But for them it all boils down to maintaining the privileges of the privileged, in hopes of being privileged themselves, if they aren’t already.
If it doesn’t occur to them to innovate or share information, it’s probably because, deep down, they don’t give a bleep about anyone but themselves. So they’re given a task, such as raising X amount of money or electing X candidate, and they’ll work to do that, but without inspiration, purpose and idealism it won’t occur to them to innovate or see the bigger picture beyond their particular task. Because people who innovate and who are always looking for ways to serve the larger cause have to have a larger cause to serve first.