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Monday, March 18, 2013

Party Limits

Previous posts have discussed the Republican National Committee's long and frustrating history of minority outreach.  One problem that has always confronted RNC -- as well as its Democratic counterpart -- is that its actual authority is very limited.

In its "Growth and Opportunity Project" report (another site here) RNC candidly studies the party's setbacks  in 2012 and offers recommendations for the future.  But at Politico, Maggie Haberman notes its treatment of policy issues:
The report is long on lists of ailments, but shorter on specific fixes. There are recommendations for better outreach and more focused efforts, but little discussion about the policies and specifics that the party would sell while reaching out to different types of voters.

Beyond immigration, it barely touches on policy. That was by design, according to the report, because it’s not the RNC’s purview. Still, policy is no small part of the GOP’s internal debate now, which underscores the limitations of what a party committee can do.
As Josh Putnam points out, the reports proposals for earlier primaries and regional primaries could require action by state legislatures and the cooperation of the Democratic National Committee.  Moving primary dates is tricky because it forces states either to move primary dates for other offices or have separate presidential primaries, which is expensive.