In what they called the "most comprehensive post-election review" ever made of an electoral loss, the Republican National Committee and a group of project co-chairs unveiled a report today saying that they need to open their playbook and put their "cards on the table face up" in order to win presidential elections in the future.
While unveiling the 100-page report at the National Press Club today, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said he wanted the report, or autopsy, to be "honest" and "raw," stressing the message of inclusion to Americans who might not be on board with all the party's policies.
"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," Priebus said of Mitt Romney and the GOP's 2012 loss. "There's no one solution. There's a long list of them."
Read more about GOP Chair Reince Priebus's plans for the Republican Party.
The report, called the "Growth and Opportunity Project," lays out an extensive plan the RNC believes will lead the party to victory with an extensive outreach to women, African-American, Asian, Hispanic and gay voters. Among the plans: hiring paid outreach staffers across the country in a $10 million push that begins right away; backing "comprehensive immigration reform"; abbreviating the presidential primary process with fewer debates, specifically saying the party would like at least half the 20 there were during the 2012 cycle; and moving the convention to June or July, as well as improving the data and digital effort.
Priebus noted that the party's policies are fundamentally sound but require a softer tone and broader outreach, include a stronger push for African-American, Latino, Asian, women and gay voters.
"To be clear, our principles our sound, our principles are not old rusty thoughts in some book," Priebus said, but the "report notes the way we communicate our principles isn't resonating widely enough."
Priebus added: "I think our policies are sound, but I think in many ways the way we communicate can be a real problem."
The report also specifically states that there needs to be more inclusion. "We need to campaign among Hispanic, black, Asian, and gay Americans and demonstrate we care about them, too. We must recruit more candidates who come from minority communities. But it is not just tone that counts. Policy always matters."
Sally Bradshaw, a Florida GOP strategist and one of the project's co-chairs, said the party has been "continually marginalizing itself and unless changes are made it will be increasingly difficult for Republicans to win another presidential election in the near future."
"Public perception of our party is at record lows," Bradshaw said. "Young voters are increasingly rolling their eyes at what the party represents and many minorities think Republicans don't like them or don't want them in our country. When someone rolls their eyes at us they aren't likely to open their ears to us."
Bradshaw added that the GOP "needs to stop talking to itself" and needs to open the tent in order to win presidential elections in the future.
"We have become expert at how to provide ideological information to like-minded people but ,devastatingly, we have lost the ability to be persuasive with or welcoming to those who don't agree with us on every issue," Bradshaw said, noting they need to be "inviting and inspiring."