WASHINGTON--Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus wants to take the "old" out of the Grand Old Party--with a $10 million investment to position the party to win the presidency in 2016.
Priebus is unveiling a wide-ranging plan to rebrand the GOP as the "Growth and Opportunity Party" on Monday--everything from a massive focus on political technology, working with female, Hispanic and African-American groups and having fewer often divisive primary debates and an earlier convention.
After President Barack Obama won a second term, Priebus commissioned an extensive review, with the 100-page report released on Monday. Read the report: RNC_Growth_Opportunity_Book_2013.pdf
Some of the most significant proposals are structural: changing the campaign calendar, with the review concluding, "we believe it is better for the Party to have a nominee selected earlier in the 2016 cycle rather than later. We also believe it is advantageous to move quickly into the general election phase of the campaign, allowing the nominee to spend general election money sooner.
Key recommendations include:
*Moving the GOP convention to June or July to begin the general election earlier.
*Shortening the primary campaign season, with the last primary no later than May 15.
*The current system state-by-state-primary "makes little sense," and consideration should be given to a regional approach--while preserving the role of the early primary and caucus states.
*The number of primary debates--20 in the 2012 cycle--should be cut to 10 or 12.
In prepared remarks provided to the Sun-Times in advance of his press conference, Priebus will say, "there's no one reason we lost. Our message was weak; our ground game was insufficient; we weren't inclusive; we were behind in both data and digital; our primary and debate process needed improvement. ....So, there's no one solution: There's a long list of them."
Researchers working on the post-election review held focus groups in Columbus, Ohio and Des Moines, Iowa--swing states in the 2012 contest Obama won--and heard the GOP describes as "scary," "narrow minded," "out-of-touch" and full of "stuffy old men."
Among the findings: while the GOP lost the presidency, at a state level the party hold 30 governorships--the most since a high of 34 states in the 1920s, leading to the conclusion the national party could take more cues from the states.
The Obama campaign had an enormous investment in digital technology--assisting in voter participation research, predictive voting behavior modeling, straight up polling, other targeting and fund-raising.
Priebus is calling for an increased emphasis in political digital technology, including creating a "fellows" program for college students and establishing "Digital Campaign Colleges in New York, San Francisco, Austin and Denver.