Post-mortems are important. To move forward, you have to know what you did right and what you did wrong. Looking back over the post-election landscape there are several massive steaming wrongs laying about.
So let's start at the beginning -- candidate recruitment. The rule of thumb is that challengers should be recruited based on the requirements of the election year in which they are running. Once elected, adjustments are made, so that a candidate responds to and is prepared for the electorate he or she will face -- election by election.
2015 was not a presidential election year. It was not even a gubernatorial election year. It was a partisan turnout-driven year, more like a special election. Whoever got their partisan voters out would win. But instead of recruiting candidates based on the requirements of 2015, those responsible for candidate recruitment selected them based on the requirements of 2012 or 2013, or maybe 2017.
Many of the candidates recruited had no particular affinity for the average Republican voter. This is different from the average Republican insider. Our candidates certainly understood what was expected of them by insiders. Many of them just failed to have any idea as to what motivates the average Republican voter to want to go out and vote. This is not to say that they were "bad" candidates. In another year, some would have made admirable candidates, just not this year.
For the most part, our candidates were not vetted. Happily none turned out to have mortal faults, but proper vetting would have prepared their campaigns for the attacks that came their way. This is what vulnerability studies are for. In times past, they were standard. We have had to re-learn their necessity.
We learned too that some Republicans scare easy. They believe in the P.C. boogeyman and have failed to understand that, for too many illiberal "liberals", the "R" next to your name is all they need to condemn you. For them, your soul is lost, so act accordingly -- or at least indifferently -- towards them. Don't crave their favor and don't alter your course to please them. You will never have their approval, so piss on them, they should mean less than nothing to you.
But we don't piss on them, do we? We seek their favor, and turn on our own. District 38 was a fine example of what happens when you fail to do a vulnerability study, and what happens is Republican on Republican sex, to the delight of Democrat onlookers. A simple Google search would have revealed that one candidate was the author of one book and the publisher of two. Yes, t-w-o.
A vulnerability study would have uncovered that the first book in question was a species of comedy, while the second was a pro-LGBT confessional written by a "Gay Big Sister" (so much for the "anti-gay" myth). It would have rendered the "anti-Asian" myth, laughable too. With a vulnerability study the state GOP would have had the tools to make an informed decision as to whether or not they wished to defend the candidate and his book. If so, it would have prepared them for the attacks that came. But that is not how it was done, was it?
Instead, many thousands of dollars were spent promoting a candidate and then trashing that candidate. Once the campaign of this "targeted" district was wrecked, the money the Democrats would have spent defending it could flow elsewhere. And make no mistake, the Democrats would have burnt buckets of money defending District 38. It is one of those districts that gets the Democrats emotional -- District 3 is another. We should never allow them rest in these districts. Make them spend buckets of money there so they don't spend it elsewhere.
But we are determined to be positive. The contributors to this website know a thing or two or three about research. Going forward, Jersey Conservative will conduct vulnerability studies on Republican candidates in competitive contests, and then make that research available to the party leaders responsible for candidate selection. In this way, the NJ GOP can make informed choices and the candidates will know what they face and how to face it.
Never again. 2015 will never happen again.