There’s no shortage of political books, on the right and the left. Post-election rants and autopsies are in vogue the year after President Barack Obama was re-elected. On the right, junkies have various ways to get their book fix. They can pay $16.99 or so, or get the book discounted — or free — if they subscribe to Townhall magazine, or Newsmax magazine, etc. There’s another option: a year or two later, long after the author’s been on talk radio or interviewed online, you can pick up the book for a penny at amazon, plus $3.99 shipping and handling.
That may be the eventual fate of “What Went Wrong: The Inside Story of the GOP Debacle of 2012 … and How It Can be Avoided Next Time,”By Jerome R. Corsi, best known for conservative book-length polemics “Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry,” and “Obama Nation.” This latest Corsi book is published by WND Books, which is associated with WorldNetDaily.com, a right-wing website.
Corsi’s book should be carefully read by Republicans, and not for Corsi’s politics, which are Tea Partyish and conservative populist. The strength of “What Went Wrong” is that it explains the chief reason why Obama scored a narrow but firm re-election victory over GOP candidate Mitt Romney. The Obama campaign had better tech and campaign science professionals. They were comprised of state-of-the-art IT experts who knew both how to find voters, and get them to the polls.
On the other hand, the Romney team was waging a campaign that would have been acceptable in 2004, but was no match for Obama’s 2012 campaign. Both sides had roughly a $1 billion to play with, but Team Obama knew better how to use the cash.
Take polls, for example. The Romney campaign used polls to try to learn something about the electorate. The Obama campaign looked at the polls to verify what they already knew. If the polls were at variance, the Obama team was sophisticated enough to know their data was better.
Another example was the campaign’s discipline and thoroughness in contacting voters. The Romney campaign boasted of reaching large numbers of voters. But, as Corsi explains, “contacting a voter” to the GOP could mean leaving a political flyer in a mailbox. But to the Obama campaign, contacting a potential voter meant either having a short interview with the voter, or even having a long interview with a potential voter. Also, the Obama campaign was far more advanced in the science of algorithms. They not only sought for votes, the knew where to go to find the most votes.
This helps explain why candidate Mitt Romney could have campaign rallies in swing states that were more enthusiastic and better attended than some of the rallies the president had. It’s very possible that Romney had more passionate supporters than Obama. But he didn’t have as many supporters. The Obama campaign, through its IT advantage, were able to find — and get the polls — less enthusiastic voters. The Romney campaign, as it discovered afterward, had a problem getting its less enthusiastic supporters to vote.
On election day, the Romney’s very expensive get-out-the-vote online effort crashed and was inactive for much of that crucial day. As Corsi explains, the Romney campaign had not done enough tech due diligence on its system. The Obama campaign, not surprisingly, had tested its get-out-the-vote online system often prior to election day. And it worked.
Most of Corsi’s book, as mentioned, advocates conservative public policy positions that can be found elsewhere. The author is skeptical of Romney, and considers him as a type of Republican who is a soft enabler of the Democratic Party’s efforts to expand government. In an odd analogy, the Romney of 2012 is compared to Thomas Dewey, and the GOP presidential campaign of 1948.
Corsi believes that the expansion of government, currently a plus for Democrats who can dole out government money to economically insecure demographic groups, will eventually lead the U.S. to too much debt, and situations that resemble what is occurring in Greece and other European nations. He urges Republicans to maintain a more frugal, debt-conscious economic policy; the better to have more credibility when the markets nosedive.
As mentioned, though, the most valuable section of Corsi’s political book is his overview of last year’s election and his call for Republicans to switch their IT ignorance into IT mastery in 2016, when both parties will again have $1 billion to try to get votes. Republicans may dominate the midterm elections in 2014, as the party did in 2010. But its next presidential candidate will be at a huge disadvantage if the tactics of 2012 are repeated.