There are a lot of reasons to go over why the GOP underperformed in 2022, and after last night’s loss in Georgia and the election cycle being over, we can really do a deep dive into it.
We can talk about candidate quality. We can talk Mitch McConnell. We can talk Kevin McCarthy. We can talk Donald Trump. But there’s one problem that the GOP refuses to discuss and that is the grifter class within its ranks.
See, Democrat politicians and Democrat campaigns are in it to win it. But, more often than not, it seems like Republican politicians and campaigns are in it to make sure the consultants get paid first. There was a huge cash-on-hand disparity when it came to candidates in 2022. Raphael Warnock was at a two-to-one advantage over Herschel Walker, if not more.
In Arizona, Mark Kelly had more cash on hand than Blake masters. Catherine Cortez-Masto in Nevada had more cash on hand than Adam Laxalt.
The Republican money in 2022 came largely from PACs and super PACs, and candidates were not able to get their hands on a whole lot of money because it was being sucked up by these Republican groups sending out dishonest fundraising messaging. But it isn’t just a phenomenon unique to 2022.
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
Let’s go back 10 years to the 2012 election. The Republican Party had this secret weapon called “Project ORCA,” and it was going to be a massive day-of GOTV effort… And it crashed on startup.
It likely cost the GOP the presidential election in 2012 (that and, of course, candidate quality). If the Republican party had spent as much time, effort, and money on the candidates and helping candidates directly, then Mitt Romney would have been more successful in 2012, because in that election Republicans made gains elsewhere. They just couldn’t beat Barack Obama.
Fast forward now to 2022. Take the RSCC under Rick Scott’s leadership. It raised a lot of money but had to give a lot of it back because people felt they were lied to in the fundraising messages they were getting. Take Donald Trump, whose own super PAC raised $100 million and spent very little of it until the end, and mostly on rallies at featured himself more than the candidates.
Take the fact that, by law, media companies have to charge politicians’ campaigns the lowest ad rates possible, but PACs pay an insane amount of money to get their ads on the air. Candidates can make the dollar stretch further than PACs, but they go in and suck up all the money.
That’s what happened with Project ORCA. The consultants and the vendors made sure they got paid for a system that didn’t even work and screwed the Republicans out of an election. Vendors, consultants, and strategists? All of these people make sure they get theirs before the campaign before the candidate can be absolutely sure that they’ve got the best strategy.
Look at the Lincoln Project, which is made up of former Republican consultants who were mad they didn’t get a seat at the table with Donald Trump, so they’ve done everything they can to raise money and make a buck for themselves at the expense of people who dislike Donald Trump. We’ve seen time and again that the Lincoln Project had a negligible effect on any election. They raised a ton of money they made sure to get their paychecks first.
If you can’t make money with Donald Trump, you make money against Donald Trump.
The Republican Party is filled with grifter consultants, who make sure that they get their checks cleared before they’re worried about whether or not somebody wins. The GOP will not have any meaningful success until they can get rid of a consultant class that is more focused on the paycheck than victory.
The Democrats are in it to win it. The Republicans are in it to get paid.
So you could have a big victory, like in 2016, and it is lost in four years because no one has actually fought to make sure that the party and the ideology comes first. They’re all focused on the money and the power in the access to all those things.