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November 05, 2014

Big Washington Post Article: How the GOP Won, and How the Democrats Lost

Damn good article. This will clear up a lot of mysteries for people.

I'll refer you to the article for Democrats' complaints about Obama.

It's the stuff that illuminates the Establishment vs. Grassroots war -- the parts we weren't aware of -- that seem most interesting.

Republican reboot

Minutes after landing at Reagan National Airport one day early this year, many GOP Senate hopefuls found themselves besieged at baggage claim by people with cameras yelling questions at them about abortion and rape.

This was no impromptu news conference but rather Republican staffers in disguise, trying to shock the candidates into realizing the intensity of what lay before them.

From the airport, the startled candidates were whisked off to NRSC headquarters for a series of meetings. There were policy briefings led by Lanhee Chen, Mitt Romney’s former policy director, as well as communications boot camps and media training from Roger Ailes associate Jon Kraushar, who has mentored Fox News personalities.

Looming large were the ghosts of combustible campaigns past: Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, Ken Buck, Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle.

"How do you fundamentally go about making human beings who are wildly unpredictable more predictable?" the NRSC's Collins said. "It's not about replacing what they believe. Pro-life is a majority view in this country, so how do you talk about it in terms that are relevant and not characterized as extreme?"

Some things were done as part of an agreement made with Scott Brown:

In New Hampshire, Scott Brown, the former senator from neighboring Massachusetts, waffled about taking on Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D). Brown said he would pull the trigger only if the party met an eight-point list of demands that included not allowing another government shutdown or a loose-cannon conservative like Akin to become the nominee in another state. Party operatives assured him they would do their best, and Brown was in.

But just such a candidate was on the rise down in Mississippi.

Chris McDaniel, a tea party conservative and former talk-radio host, was making a run for the Senate.

Now, I heard the Chris McDaniel tapes -- or the ones which were leaked (and you're about to see, they were leaked by Republican operatives) -- and while I didn't like them, I thought they were survivable. He called Hispanic women "mamacitas." Eh, that's demeaning, and it's (as the left would say) problematic, but it's not expressly racist and it's not fatal.

But the thing is, they're claiming that what they leaked was just a sampling, and that there was more and worse -- all of which would presumably be put out to the general public by the Democrats after McDaniel won the nomination. Similar to how they publicized the Akin remarks after he won the nomination. Wrong: Akin's comments were made after securing the nomination. I suppose I'm a little curious why he was only asked about his views on this matter until then, though.


...

Republicans across the country worried that Democrats would turn McDaniel, with his history of inflammatory statements, into the face of their party and link every other candidate to him. Just last month, Collins pulled an anti-McDaniel mailer out from his desk and opened it to play sound of McDaniel referring to Hispanic women as "mamacitas" -- demonstrating that McDaniel as the nominee would have been what Collins called “an existential threat to the entire party."

Researchers at the NRSC pored over McDaniel’s radio tapes, searching for damaging audio. Within a month, they had uncovered a slew of incendiary racial remarks. But fearful that McDaniel could still win the nomination, they leaked only a small slice of the material -- about "one-50th," Dayspring estimated.

Now I don't know if I believe the implication here that the other tapes were worse. Who knows, it might have just been repeated mentions of "mamacitas."

The article then turns to the Ernst/Braley race. Operatives worked with Ernst to get her more polished. And they say she was disciplined and knuckled down and learned and practiced.

They were doing something similar on the Democratic side with Bruce Braley. But he wasn't listening.

"Braley listens for a minute and then sort of just continues back on his merry way," said a senior Democratic official. "He's not a good politician, which may seem like a compliment but it’s not. . . . He comes across as arrogant, and I think it's because he is."

Kristen Powers kept talking about the "Bannock Street Project," the Democratic plan to turn out the "Obama coalition." Obviously that failed.

Meanwhile, Republicans had learned some bitter lessons in 2012, and were themselves focusing more on turnout.

Including, of course, the Kochtopus:

...

Americans for Prosperity, a super PAC funded largely by the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, also emphasized early voting. AFP spent upwards of $60 million on its own ground game, hiring 500 paid field staffers in pivotal races.

Lots of nuggets in this article, with little secrets about six or eight senate races. Worth reading in full.



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posted by Ace at 10:19 AM

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