So the Grand Old Party is going to organize in focus groups to figure out why it lost so badly in the 2012 elections [“GOP: What went wrong?” front page, Nov. 9]. This reminds me of the Marx Brothers line: Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?

Ever since passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the GOP has increasingly allowed itself to become the party of intolerance and the Democrats, by default, the party of tolerance. That reality drives voters as much as do pocketbook issues. Today, the GOP is basically an electoral coalition of older, straight white men. The Democrats have embraced largely everyone else.

If these two parties were competing corporations, which one would Wall Street bet on for future growth?

By all means, waste more money now on focus groups to report what anyone can plainly see.

Gus Bauman, Silver Spring

In the aftermath of the presidential election, the leaders of the Republican Party shake their heads and wonder what went wrong. My experience with the Romney campaign might help to answer their question.

On Oct. 9, I placed an order for several “Romney for President” campaign buttons, to share with friends before the election. I expected the buttons to be delivered promptly. However, two weeks passed, and my buttons failed to appear. I contacted the campaign by e-mail and asked about my order. On Oct. 29, I received the following reply: “Thank you for contacting us regarding your Romney Victory store purchase. We have passed your message along to store support and they will address your comments as soon as possible.”

I checked the mailbox each day, hoping to find a package containing the buttons. Election Day came, and still no buttons. Finally, my buttons were delivered, on Nov. 7 — the day after the election.

This rather minor episode might well serve as a metaphor for the failure of the Romney campaign to ultimately deliver its message in a meaningful and timely way.

Ronald Maggiano, Middleburg

The front-page article on what went wrong with the GOP missed what really went wrong. The Republicans picked a candidate who swung from moderate to far-right in a matter of months, then back to moderate in just weeks.

What Mitt Romney said on a given day came not from any moral core but from whatever he and his advisers thought might sway some bloc of voters that day. This might have won over the anybody-but-Obama voters and possibly people with really short memories. The rest of us, however, want a president who believes in what he says and can be counted on to maintain those beliefs. We want a president we can trust. Mr. Romney failed that test.

Mitchell Lazarus, Takoma Park

Though I don’t often agree with George F. Will, I’ve got to admit he nailed it with his reference to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers singing the Jerome Kern-Dorothy Fields standard “Pick Yourself Up” when he discussed the state of the Republican Party [“Still the party of principles,” op-ed, Nov. 11].

Astaire and Rogers performed to that song in “Swing Time” in 1936. In elegant evening wear, they danced and romanced their way through the worst of the Depression, providing enormous entertainment to a beleaguered nation. (Kind of like the service Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh provide today.) Meanwhile, Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt was in the White House trying to solve the nation’s serious problems.

From the time “Swing Time” premiered, it took a mere 16 years for the Republicans to reclaim the presidency. With rigid conservatives such as Mr. Will providing advice, we might see history repeat itself.

Jonathan Eig, Potomac