After the 2012 election, the Republican Party was at a crossroads. They had just lost two presidential elections in a row -- but not only that, they had only won a popular majority in a national election once in the last six presidential races.
Still reeling from their 2012 losses, Reince Priebus, my counterpart at the RNC, commissioned a report to see what went wrong and make recommendations to make sure it didn't happen again.
Exactly a year ago today they unveiled that report, which has become popularly known as the "Autopsy Report."
In a moment of rare self-awareness, Republican leaders admitted that the party was alienating huge swaths of the electorate, including women, people of color and young Americans -- and realized that it would be difficult to win any national elections going forward without taking steps to appeal to those voters.
On the Autopsy Report's one-year anniversary, the Democratic National Committee is taking a look at how the GOP plan to broaden their base is going by releasing our own report -- an autopsy on their autopsy.
What did we find? 365 days later, all the Republican Party has gotten is a year older and not a bit wiser.
The GOP has failed to change their actions or tone from the party that in 2012 told immigrants they should "self deport" and women that they had the ability to "shut that whole thing down" when raped. What changes we have seen from the Republican Party are just superficial, tactical changes. Nothing they have done changes the fact that they have an out-of-touch agenda that prioritizes opportunity for some instead of creating opportunity for all.
They may have set out to become a party that is more "inclusive and welcoming," as the Autopsy Report suggests but a year later, the GOP is moving in the opposite direction. They continue to alienate large communities of Americans with rhetoric and policy that divides us and is simply outside of the mainstream.
In the past year, we've heard Republican leaders and operatives call a female candidate an "empty dress," talk about women's "libidos," and -- once again -- try to downplay abuse. We've heard them use derogatory terms to describe Latino immigrants, use insulting stereotypes for African-Americans and our president, and support outright discrimination against LGBT Americans.
Sadly, this type of rhetoric is only the beginning of their problems -- their policies are simply out of step with the majority of American voters.
Seventy-three percent of Americans think we should raise the minimum wage and still Republicans refuse to act. Eighty-eight percent of the American people support commonsense immigration reform with a path to citizenship yet Republicans continue to obstruct. Sixty-seven percent of Americans believe we need to do more to improve equality for women in the workplace but Republicans oppose the Paycheck Fairness Act. And more than half of the American people do not want to see Obamacare repealed yet Republicans voted more than 50 times to repeal or dismantle the law and more repeal attempts are on the way. And let's not forget that in one of their attempts, they shut the government down.
It's not hard to see why in 2013, Republican Party identification reached a 25-year low. One year after the autopsy and it's clear their attempt at rebranding has failed -- the American people are just as turned off by the GOP as they were in 2012. Only 14 percent of women said the Republican Party had moved closer to their perspective since the 2012 election while 33 percent said the party had drifted further from them. Only 5 percent of African Americans nationwide identify as Republicans, half of all Americans believe that gay Americans have a constitutional right to marry and millennials now lean Democratic.
And in recent days and weeks, Reince Priebus and the RNC's plan for winning in 2014, 2016 and beyond has become increasingly clear. Shrink the electorate by making it more difficult for people to vote, hide their candidates by limiting the number of debates, and buy more ads that mask the fact that their policies hurt rather than help the communities they are targeting.
What the RNC and the Republican Party still don't understand is that their biggest problem has never been their primary calendar, their campaign tactics, or a lack of trainings. Their biggest problem is who they are, what they believe, what they say, and how they govern.
2014 will be a choice -- expanding opportunity for some versus increasing opportunity for all.
Democrats will keep working as we always have, to expand the electorate, get more people involved in democracy, and engage the next generation of voters.