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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Last week, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus stood in front of the National Press Club and announced the results of an intensive “autopsy” of the 2012 election. As Priebus had led the party during that election, it was a bit like a zombie rising to give you its assessment of why it had expired before heading off in search of brains.

His diagnosis was, of course, that the Republican Party’s policies are totally awesome — except for that little “self-deportation” thing that Mitt Romney had to back to win the GOP nomination. They could take the rest of Romney’s platform, which is basically Paul Ryan’s platform, add a dash of comprehensive immigration reform, and BAM! — instant Reagan.

The GOP’s main problem — in the GOP’s own humble opinion — was that they hadn’t done a good enough job of communicating those totally awesome policies, especially to minorities.

“I think our policies are sound, but I think in many ways the way we communicate can be a real problem,” Priebus said. The report also called for fewer presidential debates — because apparently when you have awesome policies, you don’t want to overexpose them.

The GOP’s solution is positively Keynesian. Republicans need to spend, spend, spend! He called for $10 million in new digital infrastructure and permanent hires who would be charged with reaching out to minorities with the same totally awesome policies that lost in 2012 — just in a better “tone.”

“Young voters are increasingly rolling their eyes at what the party represents, and many minorities think Republicans don’t like them or don’t want them in our country,” Sally Bradshaw, a Republican strategist, wrote in the autopsy. “When someone rolls their eyes at us, they aren’t likely to open their ears to us.”

Priebus kept his “tone” friendly and positive for the length of his presentation. And then, he took questions.

The RNC chair was asked about a shouting match at the CPAC conservative convention, in which an attendee complained about white men being “systematically disenfranchised.”

Priebus, in his minority outreach mode, answered the question as if he were being asked how he’s going to reach out to minority voters, whom he was obviously aware were actually being systematically disenfranchised, thanks to a record number of laws passed by Republicans since 2010 — mostly in the Old Confederacy states — designed to do just that.

“For one thing, we have to show up. If you’re going to get the order, you have to ask for the sale,” he said, equating campaigning with running an Amway distributorship. He went on to say that he’s going to hire hundreds of paid people across the country to reach out to minorities this year.

He then proceeded to take a blatant stab at the most famous minority staffer the RNC has had in years — former chairman Michael Steele. “When we walked into the RNC — and we were $25, $26 million in debt — we could barely make the first payroll,” Priebus said, apropos of nothing.

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