Reince Priebus, Bob McDonnell, he’s talking about you. This is someone who has spent hundreds of hours of personal activism and undoubtedly thousands of dollars of personal money to support and elect Republicans just in the past few years, in a critical swing state. This person’s activism was close to full time for more than a year, while also holding down an actual full-time job. This person is a genuine leader in the party and spent considerable time and treasure supporting Bob McDonnell. McDonnell ran and won by being solid on socially conservative issues and as a real fiscal conservative. The tax increase he’s contemplating is reading as an abandonment of the latter. McDonnell is repaying this person’s efforts by doing the opposite of what he promised. “A**hole” may be too mild a response, frankly.

Write this reaction across the entire party. Betray your base, and you run the risk of turning them off. They won’t go over to the Democrats. They just won’t turn up for local meetings to organize the party and promote it, they won’t give to candidates, they won’t give a damn.

This is how you grow a party? The RNC is going to replace people like this…how? With voters who only tune into elections at the last minute and make their decisions based on heart and gut?

The Republican Path to Success now looks like this:

  1. Annoy your base by agreeing to do what the Democrats want.
  2. ????
  3. Win, baby!

The Democrats have figured things out. They’re running a full-time campaign outside the DNC to keep the party’s activist base engaged and motivated. They’re still getting emails signed by Obama himself. There are risks involved with this, mostly in the possibility of burning activists out, but the upsides so far outweigh the downsides. Its base is happy, mostly, and the conflicts within are easier to paper over when they all feel like they’re still on the team and they’re keeping the other team on the defensive. In politics, offense tends to be a strong defense.

The Republicans barely engaged their base during the election, and have done nothing to counter OFA afterward. The autopsy tells many in the base that the party really doesn’t care what they want and will take their activism, their money, and their votes for granted. This is not a recipe for success.

Oh, look — Republicans didn’t cave on a core issue, and they won despite not even having the majority in the Senate! Will they learn anything from this?