Skip to comments.Exclusive - Inside Orca: How the Romney Campaign Suppressed Its Own Vote
Posted on 11/08/2012 10:30:53 PM PST by stillonaroll
As Republicans try to explain their Election Day losses in terms of policy, tactics, and strategy, one factor is emerging as the essential difference between the Obama and Romney campaigns on November 6: the absolute failure of Romneys get-out-the-vote effort, which underperformed even John McCains lackluster 2008 turnout. One culprit appears to be Orca, the Romneys massive technology effort, which failed completely.
Likewise, Twitchy recorded widespread real-time complaints and criticisms on Twitter by Project Orca volunteers. At one point during Election Day, the system had malfunctioned so badly that desperate volunteers wondered if the program had been hacked.
Before the election, there was much fear-mongering on the Democratic side about the Republicans supposed plans to suppress turnout among Obama voters. After the election, GOP strategist Karl Rove accused the Obama campaign of suppressing the vote by running a negative campaign against Romney that kept voters at home.
The truth is much worse. There was, in fact, massive suppression of the Republican vote--by the Romney campaign, through the diversion of nearly 40,000 volunteers to a failing computer program.
There was no Plan B; there was only confusion, and silence.
(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...
Let me explain something else: The spam-phoning of citizens is so counterproductive that it actually suppresses voters. It is a huge turnoff and a waste of time and effort. I cannot imagine that ANYBODY appreciates the robo-calls they get during the weeks before an election. I got so tired of slamming down my home phone I finally just turned the thing off. (Thank God they don't call cell phones.)
I don't know how much money those phone bank operations cost, but their effectiveness will never be proved to me. So many people I talk to roll their eyes and say things like, "If I get one more freaking call from that (campaign/party/group) I'm staying the hell home on election day."
The single, best way to reach voters is with drive-time radio ads. Second best is TV ads. The low quality of the ads I saw and heard from Romney was pitiful. I cannot believe that alleged professional marketing people made those ads... they tried to cram so many words into each single TV ad that it all became a meaningless, irritating sales pitch to viewers who really don't feel like sitting up in their chairs to concentrate on what is being sold to them during a break in their TV show. Who wants to listen to a fast talker trying to cram everything he wants to say into a 30 second spot? It literally becomes a machine gun of , "Blah blah blah blah." Yikes, that's annoying.
The key is to highlight a single idea, one point, and make the case slowly and clearly, with wit and nuance, no matter whether it is a pro-issue ad or an attack ad. Also, a variety of ads, a mix of ads, is crucial. After awhile, people hearing the same ad for the 50th time just groan, and whatever original effectiveness the ad may have had is diminished. Nobody wants to get beat over the head by a campaign. Mix it up!
The most effective ad I saw was the Ubama ad with Colin Powell that aired in the final week of the campaign. It was perfect, and I am convinced it was worth at least a 1% swing for Ubama. I cannot now think of one Romney ad that left an impression.
Phone banks? Robo calls? How retro...
What a freaking waste...
(Future candidates - - don't freepmail me unless you can afford very high fees and are willing to give me (nearly) full control of your radio and TV ad development and production.)
“This explains nothing - it’s a very weak attempt to try to explain away the fact that Romney wasn’t really anyone’s choice in the primaries, he was just the guy left standing after he eviscerated via attack ads anyone who was leading him. Does anyone really need software to help them to remind people to vote for them? I submit NO, they don’t. If Conservatives want to vote for you, then you wouldn’t be able to keep them away from their polling place. Further - Ronald Reagan never had software to remind us to go vote for him.
If THIS is what they’re trying to pass off as the reason Romney lost then it really only explains what a lousy nominee he was in the first place. “
That’s right: DEFLECTION propaganda, as the talking points of THEIR candidate.
That is called GOTV, not voter ID.
GOTV's effectiveness is that you know you have specific voters who favor your candidate. With than info, and with real time updates as to which of them have not voted yet, a campaign can specifically contact those voters. The worst that happens is that they just don't vote, but some of the people you contact will turn out.
Sometimes they don't know where their polling station is; mine changed since the primary. Sometimes they think they need to bring the mailer from the county Registrar of Voters (they don't need to here in CA). Sometimes they don't know they can cast a provisional ballot.
GOTV helps to win elections, and is very cost effective in that it's largely volunteer driven.
Yes, you are correct.
What about physically sending people to battleground states? Unless they are quietly selected for their utter diplomacy and charm, I wonder about that one too.
Good suggestions. You sound like a pro.
My point in posting the Breitbart article is to suggest that a contributing factor in Romney's loss was the Rats' superior use of today's technology, and the R's failure in attempting to use it. This failure must be studied so that it does not happen again.
As I said upthread: I've got complaints about the primaries: too long, too many candidates in the debates, too many Rats allowed to vote in R primaries. That's a discussion for another day.
Not cost effective unless you live right next to a population center across the border in a battleground state. Here in CA, I'd have drive to Nevada--probably two tanks of gas. Better use of my resources to donate the gas money to a conservative candidate in a close race.
Okay, I can see how personal phone calls from live humans can grab a few votes, as long as the callers are well-trained on how to approach people in a measured and friendly way. But the number of people who are retaining their home landlines is decreasing exponentially and therefore phone bank efforts will become increasingly less important in campaign strategery. And robo calls? Wow... They were an interesting curiosity back in the '80s, but now? Ughh.. A real irritation and, I maintain, actually counterproductive.
I also maintain that there must be better ways to utilize the energy of campaign volunteers than bothering people at home.
Agree about radio: listeners are trapped in their cars, can't skip the commercials, only change channels. However, the radio stations know that and tend to schedule their commercials around the same time.
Disagree about TV: I almost never watch a TV commercial. Unless I'm watching a live ballgame--as I did through most of the SF Giants playoff games--I will skip through commercials via DVR.
The most effective TV ad was the one with Romney singing God Bless America off key, with shots of shuttered factories and the Caman Islands. Devastating, and Romney never effectively answered it.
Gotta disagree. The figure I’ve seen is that 93 million eligible voters did not bother. A very big portion of the electorate is disengaged, but ultimately might be “reachable”, even if not at all enthusiastic. We know the Dems have a very effective turnout machine, so they probably got just about everybody they could, including a lot of voters who probably would not vote unless they had a ride, got a slice of pizza out of the deal, or whatever.
Romney was at least as “inspiring” as McCain, so if his turnout was down, something else is afoot. Personally I think the biggest factor is that Obama eroded the softer parts of the Republican base. (People who want to work but can’t find good jobs, wondering what will happen to their UE benefits, would be one example. They can’t afford to lose UE benefits and hope the economy turns around in a couple years.) That is how socialism typically gains ground. That said, other factors, like a failed GOTV effort, could certainly make things worse.
I guess Team Romney never heard of Beta testing.
Yep....at one point during the final frenzy this past weekend, we were getting phone calls with recorded messages about once every twenty minutes from the Romney Campaign, the RNC, or some other GOP-affiliated group.
My wife got so frustrated and angry that she literally yanked the phone cord from the wall and dared me to reconnect it until the election was over.
You need look no further than what issue that Motivated Tea Partiers to attend town Hall Meetings across the Country 1n 2010,March on Washington by the Hundreds of thousands,that being Obamacare. What issue was taken off the Table by the Establishment Republicans as a Finger in the eye to the Tea partiers? Thats right Obamacare,when Romney was asked after his Nomination what is going to the Tea Party vote for you? he answered they will fall into line. Well Romney did not even get as many votes as McCain. So Long Mitt
Througout the entire campaign, the only direct contact I had with the Republican party was pounds of junk mail, dozens of robocalls, hundreds of emails, and countless fundraising calls. Not once did any live person contact me to urge me to go out and vote.
It’s interesting that I am still getting two to three emails daily from Paul Ryan, Ann Romney, and the Romney sons, telling me to vote on November 6. I’ve gotten one already this morning (Nov. 9) from Paul Ryan.
“Agreed. People hired by the GOP to oversee critical technology must be reliably conservative. Its too important to allow some long-haired, maggot-infested, dope-smoking FM type to infiltrate the system.”
(well stated, a little Rush lingo there)
...and they will - because they don’t have the imagination necessary to think like bad guys. I do, for whatever reason. I walk around my house thinking of how, if I were a bad guy, would case it and then break in. What the weak points are, how to disable the alarm, etc. For a Republican elite, it’s a major accomplishment when they can be convinced that leaving the car running, unlocked, when they buy a coffee has some level of risk.
“My wife got so frustrated and angry that she literally yanked the phone cord from the wall and dared me to reconnect it until the election was over.”
It looks like you didn’t reconnect the phone SINCE you are still alive. /s
Given that this whole Orca effort was run from Massachusetts, which is full of liberals in the tech sector just as it is everywhere else, the likelihood of deliberately shoddy design or outright sabotage is pretty high, IMO.
“Given that this whole Orca effort was run from Massachusetts, which is full of liberals in the tech sector just as it is everywhere else, the likelihood of deliberately shoddy design or outright sabotage is pretty high, IMO.”
OMG...he really was that STUPID after all.
So what does one do? You make it clear that if the app fails when it’s needed, the nerds don’t get paid. That simple. You pay out ONLY after election day, based on the contract. Prior to that, you put the money in escrow somewhere. No excuses, the program must run as advertised to get paid.
Not foolproof - but much better than simply trusting young kids from MA to be apolitical.
One of the stories that is told about my start in politics is that on the way home from law school one night in 1948, I stopped by the ward headquarters in the ward where I lived. There was a street-front, and the name Timothy O'Sullivan, Ward Committeeman, was painted on the front window. I walked in and I said "I'd like to volunteer to work for [Adlai] Stevenson and [Paul] Douglas." This quintessential Chicago ward committeeman took the cigar out of his mouth and glared at me and said, "Who sent you?" I said, "Nobody sent me." He put the cigar back in his mouth and he said, "We don't want nobody that nobody sent." This was the beginning of my political career in Chicago.The essential truth in the story is that the only way to guard against betrayal is to only use people who have been vouched for by people you have known for a long time, and who have known the person for a long time. Technical ability is secondary to being able to trust the person.
This is why the original Sicilian Mafia would only take fellow Sicilians, people who could be checked up on by asking around the village they grew up in.
Not sufficient—way too easy for the other side to outbid with future jobs, etc.. Besides youthful idealism isn’t always tied to financial compensation.
Are you serious? That’s pathetic!
Truth be told, there’s darn little reasoning/mathematical/programming talent in the RINO corner of the GOP. Probably a bit more in the social conservative wing. But there’s loads of it in the libertarian/Ron Paul end of the spectrum. That’s where lots of techies reside philosophically.
If the GOP or its successor would do the right thing and fully bring them into the fold, they’d have plenty of loyal technical talent to call on.
We’re out there. We’ve volunteered our services. They refuse to realize what year we live in. I can virtually guarantee this ORCA thing was a failure to recognize why there is an echelon of world-class development teams that makes six-figures when there are ten times as many people who claim to have the same skills and make $20/hour (assuming they’re employed).
The base knew what was at stake, this was BS. People were jerks.
The base knew what was at stake, this was BS. People were jerks.
“Each state has their own rules, but however voter identification is done, the Rats do it better than us.”
Back in the ‘70s a friend of mine went to college in the Chicago area. The second time he ever voted there, some big guy greeted him by name at the polling place. He had never seen the guy before; no clue who the guy was.
Yeah, they’ve been doing it better for decades...
I’d be fascinated to know the contracts and management of both this and their failed mobile VP announcement app.
I’m certain there’s a staff GOP consultant who treated it like a getting-while-the-getting’s-good enrichment strategy, just as they do the ad development and ad placement sides of the ‘business’. Romney is rich, but he’s also a senior citizen who was taken in by the scam artists who are the perennial GOP consultancy.
“This explains nothing - it’s a very weak attempt to try to explain away the fact that Romney wasn’t really anyone’s choice in the primaries, “
GOP-e nominated the guy who (last time around) lost the primary to McCain who then lost to 0bama.
What could POSSIBLY go wrong? (We know the answer now.)
Do a little research on how ALL the Romney people were vetted. You will find that there was an overriding cronyism qualification that had nothing to do with ability or experience.
At the end of the day, it is clear the GOTV by this campaign failed miserably.. which honestly makes no sense to me, but if Obama can lose 10 Million votes, and Romney doesn’t even get as many votes as McCain... and Obama winds up winning you got a problem.
I did notice when I early voted in FL that there were campaign signs for all candidates except Romney. I remember thinking that was pretty poor planning. Cars were parked by the entrance of the parking lot with democrat candidates and signs offering rides to polling stations.
Shockingly there were no campaign signs for Romney and no workers with literature at the polling station I watched for ORCA.
Other articles and posts have said that they wanted 15,000 but got 34,000 volunteers for ORCA. that’s 19,000 extra volunteers who offered their whole day who could have done other functions to GOTV.
I guess Obama’s community organizing experience does come in handy.
Very sad fail. But why are republicans always so quick to turn on their own and sit out the vote on 1 principle when their other 99 principles are going to go down in flames at the hands of liberals?
For my own mental sanity, I’m going to tune out for a while and try to figure out how to keep my business going another 4 years.
I am serious. This morning’s email from Ryan was titled “Today we need your vote”.
The app didn’t work in the polling place for me - no service.
The credentialing was fine - we were all fully informed.
There was one tremendous drawback - it was impossible to hear the names of the voters, so even in the best of circumstances I was catching maybe 1/4 of the names.
I felt my time would have been better spent outside or at a phone bank. But I was happy for the opportunity to observe the process and see how to improve voter registration and integrity for the next election.
Empirically the Obama campaign has show the single best way to reach voters is to go to where they are and drag them to the vote. Whether that is having them fill out the ballot and depositing it for them or dragging them to the polls in a bus, it's the same thing: go to the voter, don't rely on them coming in.
Of course if the voter is imaginary, the vote is from fantasyland, but that also doesn't seem to matter....
Do you think that the Romney people hired systems design people so incompetent that they didn’t analyze and account for the peak requirements in a system specifically intended to handle a very time-sensitive and bulky load requirement?
Realize that I am saying this as a person who has learned that when I’m working on a critical issue I EXPECT my computer to fail. I have back-up means specifically to handle that situation because I have experienced it so many times. Word goes to a crawl every time I am working on a critical post for my blog or some legal document - this last time because a file had code (and apparently looping scripts) added to it which doubled the size so that Word and Outlook Express couldn’t handle it well. Wordpress won’t upload my files. Emails disappear. My anti-virus program is disabled. The latest thing was when Word wouldn’t let me save my documents as PDF’s, which is the format I need to use to post to Wordpress. I didn’t do anything to my computer to impact it one way or another, but after a couple weeks Word suddenly decided to let me save PDF’s again. I store files externally so they won’t get lost when my computer is trashed. I have the mechanisms in place to retrieve what was left on my computer when it is trashed - which I’ve had to use twice now.
Those of us who have observed the Obama regime’s sabotage first-hand are prepared for these things. If Romney’s designers were just using the standard precautions they would get blown away, simply because they didn’t know who and what they were up against.
That’s the background I’m speaking from, and there are others here who have learned the same things as I have. Until the “cool” people learn to listen to what people like me have learned, they will always underestimate the enemy and find themselves unprepared to handle what is thrown at them. There is a reason that Alinsky wants to marginalize the “conspiracy theorists”: because if people took the watchdogs seriously they would lock their doors instead of being eaten alive by the wolves.
If anybody in the political establishment wants a fighting chance at saving this country, they need to stop blowing Alinsky libel out their rear ends so they can be “cool” like the media, and start listening instead.
You should post this [#41] as a stand alone thread.
Here are a couple of posts I made about my ORCA experience, yesterday on the NC forum:
Project ORCA... Was anyone else here involved in that?
For anyone who didnt hear about it, it involved being a poll watcher for the Romney campaign, but the idea was to collect the names of those who had voted throughout the day, and to relay that info up to the HQ in Boston, by way of smart phone app. From there theyd apparently bug those Rs who hadnt yet voted.
Really interesting concept, I heard about it a month or so ago, realized I had some personal days I could take at work, and put them all in for this week. Signed up for the program (they called it a task force), and was accepted. Was really excited about helping out. They ended up assigning me to the precinct next to my own in Cornelius.
Sadly it was a bust. That morning I couldnt even log on to the app they provided (actually it was just a website, not sure why they were calling it an app). Collecting the data on voters was next to impossible, as there was one of me, and voters checked in as many as five at a time at two long tables as I sat at an assigned chair off to the side, and as I wasnt allowed to view the books of registered voters, I had to sign off only as many names as I could actually hear. 3% would be a generous estimate as to how many that turned out to be - most people speak too softly. On top of that I had to quickly flip through the more than sixty pages of names I had printed out the night before.
I was told by both the campaign and the poll manager that at 10, 2 and 4 I could view lists of who had voted. At the time I assumed that meant the books, but later found out (at 10, of course, when I was rebuffed) that I couldnt go near the books, and instead had to wait for a print-out of names, after the certifications had been scanned and processed. At 10, and again by 2, they hadnt even begun to scan them, as they were apparently backed up. So, I had nothing to work with.
By 4, they said I could sort through the stacks of certifications. I did as many as I could before being told that they needed to begin scanning, so I had to hand em back. I took the names that I did have, and after spending over an hour bouncing around on the phone with several different kids in Boston, they finally reset my log-in info. Eventually it accepted my log-in and as I began to input the names... the website crashed on me, never to return.
My understanding is that most of the volunteers experienced similar problems. Interesting idea, could really be a powerful tool one day, but this year it was a bomb. Who knows... Ive read that Romney lost OH, FL, VA and CO by a combined ~300,000 votes, and had this been working properly, maybe it could have made the difference.
I think something like ORCA could be a powerful tool. Really, each state GOP should undertake something like this, but combine it with traditional outreach and GOTV. Dont overly centralize it either, delegate it out by regions, to counties, to neighborhoods. Probably better to have a neighbor knocking on doors than it is to get a robo-call from across the country. And instead of waiting for a prez or congressional election to try it out, do a dry run in the odd-year elections.
It would be a violation of commie Standard Operating Procedure if they did NOT infiltrate the Romney campaign.
There were moles, saboteurs, and, probably, electronic bugging.
That’s the reality. We gotta deal with it.
GWB & the RNC had a massive and effective computerized volunteer get-out-the vote operation in 2004; having beforehand used previous volunteers to use 411-information and every other possible resource to fill in the phone numbers in a database for every registered Republican, state by state; and a telephone call center, telehoning from our own homes & ground-based volunteers, getting out the vote before and during election night
I know I worked on it
the telephoning system, in and off the call centers put back into the database if the person called had been contacted amd if they shared who they were voting for
and GWB won with the Iraq war on and with a media that had demonized him 100s of times worse than the media did to Romney
so, who was not minding the store on Romney’s team
and why don’t they quit allowing pundits to scapegoat everyone but his own team
Still, that does not excuse the campaign or the GOP for not properly overseeing GOTV operations.
One time we were told to call people on a list, and it turns out everyone we called had already voted absentee. Another time a state assemblyman in a close race walked in, and everyone was calling people outside his district.
That being said, there is no excuse for the kind of widespread GOTV failure that apparently occurred this week. The world has advanced beyond paper and pencil. The Rats have mastered the new technology, but we have not.
Are you seriously blaming Obama for your virus infested computer?
Realize that I am saying this as a person who has learned that when Im working on a critical issue I EXPECT my computer to fail. I have back-up means specifically to handle that situation because I have experienced it so many times...
Excellent post. I'll leave it to the experts to speculate as to whether it was campaign/GOP incompetence, Rat infiltration, or a combination of both. It must be investigated by the GOP or others so that it does not happen again.
When I'm working on something especially time crucial, I will make sure my files are backed up. If I have hours remaining on critical deadline, I will back up often. Like you, I have to expect that something will fail, as the consequences of failure could be disastrous.
Interesting. Another posted also noted that, but they said they heard probably only 3% of the names. Presumably the Rats also face the same issue, but they must have a different way of dealing with it.
In reading accounts of this story, I don’t see anything beyond the realm of piss-poor systems management getting crossbred with the mindset of political hacks and the raw arrogance inherent in the mindset of those who think RINOs are the best candidate. Face it, if you can deny the history of elections since 1980 and think Romney was the best choice, the ability of your brain to incorporate reality into your reasoning is already shown to be severely compromised.