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How GOP Wins In 2014 Could Set Up ‘Rude Awakening’ In 2016.


 

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WASHINGTON — A veteran Republican digital consultant warned Thursday that a successful election this fall could set back the Republican Party’s efforts to modernize its approach to campaigns.

Michael Beach, co-founder of Targeted Victory, spoke at a gathering of technology, business and campaign executives and consultants, organized by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics and the Internet Association.

Beach, who came up through the ranks of Republican campaigns at a time when the GOP was ahead of Democrats in terms of voter targeting, said his party has actually gone backwards in technological terms over the last few electoral cycles — in part because the midterms have been “wave” elections, in 2006 for Democrats and in 2010 for Republicans.

The tea party wave of 2010, Beach said, “was great for Republicans, [but] it was the worst thing that ever happened to our profession because it just reinforced bad habits.”

“All you had to do was be standing after the primary and you won,” Beach said. “We could have done anything in ’10 and won. We could have done leaflets.”

As a result, Republican consultants and operatives did not focus on the tech advances that were being made in politics. President Barack Obama’s team had pioneered new uses of digital campaigning in 2008, and Democrats built on that experience for the next four years, while Republicans insisted that high unemployment and Obama’s unpopularity would be enough for another GOP romp in 2012.

“Senate races we worked on in ’12 were worse than the ones we worked on in ’10,” Beach said.

Republican campaign sophistication has atrophied since Karl Rove, Ken Mehlman and other GOP operatives were the first to “micro-target” voters, using a vast array of data about the electorate. President George W. Bush’s reelection campaign in 2004 was the pinnacle of the Rove-Mehlman machine’s efforts, but Republicans have since slipped backwards in many ways, Beach said.

“In 2004, you knew how many votes per precinct you had to get in order to win that state,” said Beach, who worked on voter turnout in the crucial state of Ohio that year. “Ask a campaign now how many votes they need per precinct, and you won’t find anybody [who knows] because it’s like, ‘We’re either going to win or lose based on a tidal wave.'”

The wave elections in 2006 and 2010 reinforced the impression among many Republicans that diligent, labor-intensive work on identifying, persuading and turning out voters is less important than the overall political climate.

Following Obama’s win in 2012 over Mitt Romney, due in part to a campaign that identified new voters through state-of-the-art data analytics and modeling, and turned them out with aggressive and precise recruitment, Republicans said they were going to catch up to Democrats.

The problem, Beach said, is that the same dynamic that shaped 2010 and 2012 is gearing up for the 2014 and 2016 elections.

“Guess what ’14’s going to be? I believe a tidal wave,” Beach said. Many political observers believe Obama’s declining popularity and widespread dissatisfaction with Obamacare is going to hand control of the Senate to the GOP as well as increase the party’s majority in the House this November.

If that happens, Beach said, “It’s just going to reinforce more bad habits.”

Republican consultants, he said, will observe the results and say, “‘Oh, ’12, that was just an outlier. We don’t need younger voters.'”

And that, he said, will only set the party up for a bad result in the 2016 presidential election.

“For us, I think it’s going to be a rude awakening in ’16,” Beach said.

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Mike Huckabee: Libertarianism Is Not Republicanism.


There is a strong libertarian presence in the Republican Party, which was reflected at the Conservative Political Action Conference, but libertarianism is not conservatism, says former presidential candidate and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

“CPAC is becoming increasingly libertarian over the past few years, and we saw that this year,” Huckabee told Dick Morris, J.D. Hayworth and John Bachman on Newsmax TV’s America’s Forum on Monday.

“Libertarians have a very valid point of view, and increasingly we’re seeing a libertarian influence for the Republican Party. But pure libertarianism is not Republicanism,” he added. “They’re welcome in the Republican Party, but don’t act as if somehow libertarianism is a purer form of being Republican.”

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The Arkansas Republican said, however, that he doesn’t put all the blame for Republican losses on Libertarian Party candidates taking votes from GOP candidates

“If 10 percent more of the social conservatives had voted in the 2012 election, Mitt Romney would be president today,” Huckabee said. “They stayed home, in larger numbers, in part because they didn’t feel like there was a message that really connected to them.”

Huckabee said that the solution for Republican candidates is not to stay away from social issues, because “by doing so, you almost ensure defeat.”

The former presidential candidate added that “a real conservative embodies the whole spectrum of conservatism, which is not only fiscal conservatism [but also] the idea that we need less government and the government we have ought to be more effective and more local.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Courtney Coren

NYT/CBS News Poll: GOP Has Edge in 2014 Midterm Elections.


The Republican Party is the favorite among Americans in an early look at the 2014 midterm elections, with a higher percentage of people saying they would back the GOP over the Democrats.

According to a New York Times/CBS News poll conducted Feb. 19-23, 42 percent of people say they plan to support the GOP in November, compared to 39 percent who say they will back the Democrats. Republicans, according to the survey, are benefiting from the support of independents.

“Even though the [Republican] party itself is deeply divided and most Americans agree more with Democratic policy positions…Republicans hold their edge despite the fissures in their party,” the Times reported.

The survey of 1,644 also found that 59 percent of respondents are disappointed with the Obama presidency, compared to 40 percent who are satisfied.

The president’s approval rating has also dipped 4 points since last month to its worst standing in the past two years, with the exception of a CBS News survey in November just after the botched roll-out of Obamacare.

Fifty-one percent of those surveyed disapprove of the job the president is doing compared to 41 percent who approve.

“Such ratings amount to an early political alarm for Democrats on the ballot this year. When a party controls the White House, its performance in midterm congressional elections typically tracks closely to the popularity of the sitting president in the fall,” the Times says.

A massive majority of Americans are also deeply dissatisfied with Congress with 79 percent saying they are unhappy about the way things are going in the nation’s capital, including three in 10 who say they are angry, CBS News reports.

A majority of Americans surveyed also said they want both parties to do more to address the concerns of the middle class, reduce the budget deficit with both tax increases and spending cuts, and let illegal immigrants stay in the country and apply for citizenship, according to the Times.

The poll also indicated that that the Affordable Care Act appears to have solidified some opposition to Democrats, while historical trends such as an older, whiter midterm electorate are also favorable to Republicans, the Times reports.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Melanie Batley

Dennis Hastert: GOP Can’t Ignore Path to Citizenship for Immigrants.


The House immigration bill should include a pathway to citizenship for those who are already here, former Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert says. 

“The whole formula for immigration reform can fall into place if two basic issues are solved,” Hastert, of Illinois, wrote in an opinion piece for Politico. “First, securing our borders so we know who is entering our country and for what purpose. Second, a legalization of those folks who are already here, many of whom have been here for a decade or more.”

And, Hastert explains, legalization means that there must be “a path to citizenship much like any other immigrant would have.” 

But the country cannot just do nothing, he said. “The cost of inaction is high,” Hastert claims. 

The United States has too much to gain economically, according to reports from the Congressional Budget Office and and the Bipartisan Policy Center that Hastert cites. The CBO predicted that Gross Domestic Product would increase 5.4 percent if the immigrants here were given citizenship over 20 years, and the BPC has said that immigration reform would reduce the federal deficit more than $1.2 trillion in the same amount of time. 

According to Hastert, immigration reform is also necessary to fill jobs in a variety of sectors such as science and technology, agriculture, and manufacturing, where immigrants are needed. 

“Immigration is necessary for our economic recovery,” he wrote. “We need a reasonable way to bring [immigrants] out of the shadows so that they can legally contribute to our economy.”

“Removing them is neither practical nor economically smart,” he added. 

There are national security issues at stake, as well. If Homeland Security knows who is here, it will make it easier for “law enforcement to refocus their resources on removing individuals with criminal backgrounds.” 

He also explains that embracing Latinos, which are expected to make up 30 percent of the population by 2050, is necessary for the political survival of the Republican Party. 

“My own party must acknowledge this reality and embrace these ever-growing constituencies if it is to remain relevant in national elections,” Hastert concluded in his opinion piece. 

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Courtney Coren

Priebus: GOP Must Add, Not ‘Divide and Subtract’.


The Republican Party should focus on basic mathematics to build its base, Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus said Wednesday.

“We have to grow our party through addition and multiplication. We can’t divide and subtract,” Priebus told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

The Republican Party game plan should involve working on all aspects within it to move forward, Priebus suggested. Republicans need to work on strengths to build “where we’re strong,” while also “building our party where we’re weak,” he said Wednesday.

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The GOP has been engulfed in divisions between conservative and moderate factions regarding its direction. Conservative tea party members, who want smaller government, have been at odds with more moderate party members.

Priebus said the door to the party should be wider to welcome “all aspects of our party.”

Traditionally, a Republican offers a single response to a president’s State of the Union address. This year, Republicans aired three responses after President Barack Obama’s speech Tuesday evening.

House GOP Conference Chairwoman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state;  Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul; and Utah Sen. Mike Lee offered three separate Republican counterpoints to Obama’s address.

Priebus said the tea party response by Lee was good for the party as a whole.

“I think it’s a positive thing for the Republican Party, for the tea party, to put in a good Republican, giving a good Republican response. Saying this president isn’t delivering on his promises, and that there’s a better way. And there’s a Republican senator that’s explaining the better way. How is that not good for our party?” Priebus asked.

When a party is “five years out of the White House,” it’s expected there will be “a lot of voices,” Priebus explained. He said his challenge is “to keep all of those different voices in the same room and speaking out of same hymnal.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Wanda Carruthers

Former Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell, Wife Indicted.


Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife have been indicted on federal corruption charges

Peter Carr, a spokesman for the U.S. Justice Department, says McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were indicted Tuesday. The 14-count indictment includes conspiracy, wire fraud, and other charges.

McDonnell left office earlier this month after four years in the governor’s office. Virginia law limits governors to a single term.

A federal investigation overshadowed the final months in office for this once-rising star of the Republican Party, with authorities looking into gifts he and his family received from a political donor.

In July, McDonnell apologized and said he had returned more than $120,000 in loans and other gifts from Johnnie Williams, the CEO of pharmaceutical company Star Scientific.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

Learning Son Is Gay, US Senator Flip Flops on Gay Marriage Opposition.


Will and Rob Portman
Sen. Rob Portman (right) and his son Will pose at the Ohio River Way Paddlefest in 2010 (Facebook)

Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman, a longtime opponent of same-sex marriage, said on Friday he now believes gays have a right to marry after learning two years ago that his son is gay.

Portman, who was on the short list to be 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s running mate, made the announcement in an opinion piece in an Ohio newspaper and gave interviews on his change of heart.

“I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldn’t deny them the opportunity to get married,” Portman wrote in an op-ed piece in the Columbus Dispatch, titled “The Freedom to Marry.”

“That isn’t how I’ve always felt. As a congressman, and more recently as a senator, I opposed marriage for same-sex couples. Then something happened that led me to think through my position in a much deeper way.”

Portman said his 21-year-old son, Will, told the senator and his wife that he was gay in February 2011.

Portman’s announcement comes about a week before the U.S. Supreme Court is to hear oral arguments in two cases related to gay marriage. One challenges the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

In a related case, the court will also hear arguments that question a California law, known asProposition 8, banning gay marriage. The cases will be argued on March 26 and March 27.

Portman told the Cleveland Plain Dealer he now believes same-sex couples who marry in states where it is legal should be eligible for the same federal benefits granted to heterosexual couples.

Portman’s announcement will inevitably provide fodder for fellow Republicans on Friday as they convene for a second day at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC.

The Republican Party has become increasingly split on the issue, with many arguing socially conservative positions such as opposition to same-sex marriage is contributing to the party’s election losses.

Among the headliners expected to speak on Friday is Mitt Romney, who will be making his first major public speech since he lost the presidential election. Portman, whose politically divided home state is key in presidential contests, had a prominent role in Romney’s campaign.

In his op-ed piece, Portman wrote of how he has “wrestled” with reconciling his Christian faith with the desire for his son to have same opportunities as his siblings.

“Ultimately, for me, it came down to the Bible’s overarching themes of love and compassion and my belief that we are all children of God,” he said.

Portman told the Ohio newspapers that because of his son he was able to “think of this issue from a new perspective, and that’s of a dad who loves his son a lot and wants him to have the same opportunities that his brother and sister would have—to have a relationship like Jane and I have had for over 26 years.”

Portman’s son, now a junior at Yale University, told the senator that being gay was “not a choice,” and that he had been gay “since he could remember,” Portman told the papers.

He added said his views on the matter have evolved over the past two years, and he had consulted clergy members and friends including former Vice President Dick Cheney, who has an openly gay daughter.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS


Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Vicki Allen

© 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

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