First, some back story. California never gets the benefits of regular campaign stops from presidential candidates or either party's campaign committee. California is considered a lock for the Democrats, so to actually speak to us peasants would be a waste of time. Candidates and their committees come here only to raise money. We're like a huge ATM machine.
So you can imagine my surprise (and that of David Horsey) when the RNC selected Hollywood, California for it's annual Spring Conference.
Like Nixon going to China, the Republicans have entered hostile territory. Ostensibly, this interesting choice of venue is part of RNC Chairman Reince Priebus’ outreach to communities that Republicans have long considered unreachable. But Priebus and his party have about as much chance picking up votes in Hollywood as they would in Harlem.
The location is merely symbolic, akin to Barack Obama showing up at a National Rifle Assn. conclave just to prove he is man enough to do it. Assembling the party’s governing body in such an unexpected place is really meant to focus attention on the findings of the GOP’s Growth & Opportunity Project. That report, released by Priebus a couple of weeks ago, says the party organization needs to make its message more appealing to Latinos, blacks, women and young people and then figure out ways to deliver that message in technologically innovative ways.
The underlying concern is that in 2012, the Obama campaign sank Mitt Romney’s presidential bid by scooping up the vast majority of nonwhite voters, micro-targeting other likely Obama voters, such as single women, and driving up turnout among heretofore undependable young voters by smartly exploiting social media. The report says Republicans need approaches to match what the Democrats have done.
The report also bears an implicit message that not all Republicans want to hear. The message is that the party can no longer be held hostage by tea party zealots and the religious right. The party establishment managed to move in that direction at the national convention in August when several measures were approved that gave more clout to party officials and enhanced their ability to maintain order in the rowdy process of choosing a presidential candidate. [Emphasis added]
Rules changes were debated during the early part of the conference, and the far right wackaloons got mostly beaten back. On a couple of issues, including releasing convention delegates to vote their conscience rather than represent the caucus or primary vote, they got a hearing, but it will take a 75% vote to get those stands through. That doesn't look likely.
Whether the GOP will remain fractured remains to be seen. I suspect 2014 will be key in that regard. In the mean time, Republicans held a convention here, pouring dollars into our economy. This is getting funnier and funnier.
More popcorn, please.