Just like clockwork, Republican strategists and campaign advisors to unsuccessful campaigns who were actively involved in the 2014 elections, deciding how to spend millions of dollars, are on a post-election media tour to discuss what went wrong during the elections and why they should be the solution in 2016.
I am good friends with many of the Republicans who are now “bravely” speaking up and I do not disagree with some of the concerns about what went wrong for Republicans in Minnesota.
In fact, the spending and strategic decisions by some of the Republicans speaking up contributed to both election wins and losses for Republicans across Minnesota. The election is over. The timing of their sudden acknowledgment of what was going wrong and what went wrong does Republicans little good now.
During the 2010 elections, I served as the Deputy Chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota and I experienced great frustration at the unwillingness of staff working for statewide candidates to change course before they hit the iceberg and sank their candidate’s chances to win. It is difficult to speak up, but to win elections, sometimes it just needs to be done. Elections have consequences and the stakes are too high for Republicans to only speak up after the polls have closed.
The picture accompanying this post is of the iceberg that the RMS Titanic hit on the evening of April 14, 1912. Nearly three hours after hitting this iceberg, the Titanic sank in the early hours of April 15, 1912. The sinking of the Titanic could have been prevented, with some historians arguing a simple steering maneuver could have saved the lives of everyone aboard the doom passenger liner. The crew of the Titanic had also received warning of ice flows in the area of their route, but the crew of the Titanic ignored warnings and continued on their course.
For Republicans to start winning elections again, there needs to be a course correction before they hit the iceberg again and again. The time for people to speak up and voice concerns is not after the ship has sunk and the election has been lost. Republicans need to be more agile during the election and not committed to a course that will lead them right into the path of an iceberg.
I largely agree with some of the post-election analysis commentary from Republicans, but if you were one of the crew of the Titanic who steered the ship into the path of the iceberg or ignored the warnings about ice flows, it is fair to ask what was done to correct the problems before the ship was sunk and the election was lost. I think post-election analysis and finger-pointing by some would be more credible if they had offered constructive criticism and helped rally Republicans with a call to action before Election Day.
Finally, Republicans needs to accept that Minnesota is a blue state – midnight blue – not a purple state. The fragile majority Republicans have in the Minnesota House of Representatives could be easily erased in 2016 if Minnesota continues to be a fly-over state for Republican candidates for president. It will take a team effort for Republicans to keep control of the Minnesota House of Representatives, make gains in the Minnesota Senate and for a Republican candidate for president to have any chance at Minnesota’s 10 Electoral Votes.
With so much work for Republicans to do to rebuild the party and win more elections, it is shortsighted of anyone to make lists of who can or cannot be involved in the 2016 election. I believe there are many lessons to be learned by the 2014 elections, especially by the Republicans who seem to have all the answers while they were on the bridge of the Titanic, steering it into the path of an iceberg.
Unwinding the SPIN is a section of politics.mn which translates the spin and messaging in Minnesota politics.