Republicans regularly held the governor’s mansion for years, said Brulte, and they enjoyed the big checks from donors, who often contribute to the party in power. As a result, Republicans “lost the mechanics,” he said.
“The California Republican party didn’t even have an online voter registration program in 2012,” said Brulte, who pointed to Democrat Steve Fox getting elected to the Assembly by 145 votes in 2012 in a district that includes parts of San Bernardino, Kern and Los Angeles counties, as an opportunity squandered by neglected mechanics. “That’s one Assembly seat that was lost simply because of that failure.”
Another factor could be a failure to recognize changes in demographics, most notably the rising Latino population. Republican efforts to tap into this growing electorate have been trivial at best. At worst, Republicans’ inability to coalesce around an immigration strategy may be pushing Latinos away.
Loss of hope and leadership could be another factor, according to longtime Republican operative Jonathan Wilcox. The last Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, along with the last Republican gubernatorial candidate, Meg Whitman, have both been conspicuously absent, leaving an enthusiasm void.
“There’s not success without belief,” Wilcox said. “I think some Republicans have suffered from a lack of belief and they’ve gone through some tough times. ... Our standard bearers have removed themselves from the partisan or political process – that’s very unique in our politics. … I’m not trashing them, but if they were still involved, it would truly benefit the Republican Party.”The article also notes some modest recent successes that reflect Brulte's emphasis on nuts and bolts.