Asked about the GOP’s demographic problems, Boehner said: “What Republicans need to learn is: How do we speak to all Americans? You know, not just the people who look like us and act like us, but how do we speak to all Americans?”
Some party leaders have blamed the losses on the rise of the tea party movement and the growing pressure on GOP candidates to hew to a purist brand of conservatism that wins primaries but turns off voters. Others have taken the opposite view, blaming party establishment leaders and Romney for trying to play to the middle.
RNC officials say their results will help guide Republican lawmakers and governors as they tackle sensitive issues.
The committee’s move suggests that Chairman Reince Priebus, who will face reelection in January, may be trying to fill a void left by Romney’s loss and the lack of a party leader focused on political strategy.
The review began on election night with polls in key states, and next week the party will begin a string of voter focus groups.
Priebus and other party officials also will meet with constituency-group leaders representing Hispanics, African Americans, veterans, evangelicals, tea party activists, business groups, youth voters, centrists, Asian Americans and women.
Party officials plan to delve deeply into the Hispanic community, with separate focus group sessions being devoted to Puerto Ricans, a key bloc in central Florida that strongly backed Obama, as well as Mexican Americans and Cuban Americans. Mexican Americans make up the bulk of Hispanic voters in the battleground states of Colorado and Nevada.
The RNC’s review, to be conducted over the next two months and handled in some cases by independent firms, will look at the party’s get-out-the-vote operations, its national field staff and tactics, online voter-targeting strategy, and donor relationships. About 150,000 volunteers and 600 staff members will be queried on such topics as the quality of the party’s technology and voter-contact database to see if other factors contributed to their losses.
“We lost Wisconsin and Iowa, and we didn’t lose those because of the Hispanic vote,” Spicer said. “This is not a one-trick-pony problem.”
The review is designed in part to identify the positives, as well, and keep them in place for the future, he said.
Yet, whatever the Republicans did well, the Democrats did it better. That’s why another piece of the GOP review will include a study of Obama’s political machinery, including the sprawling network of neighborhood captains and activists in place since the 2008 campaign that appeared to roar back to life in time for Tuesday.
“We’ve got to know what they did well,” Spicer said. “We’ve got to give them credit, they won. We need to know what we’re going to be up against in 2013, 2014 and 2016.”