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The Republican Party: an incredible knack for winning

How the GOP turned the art of electioneering into a science.

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You could hardly turn on the television or pick up a newspaper in recent weeks without learning about a Republican running for his or her life. Of course, no one knows yet what voters will really do in the privacy of the voting booth next week.

But whatever happens on Election Day, nothing changes the fact that the Republican Party has the upper hand over the Democrats in the mechanics of campaigning: money, message, and organization. Even should the GOP suffer a setback at the polls, these formidable advantages will not disappear anytime soon.

The new book One Party Country: Republican Dominance in the 21st Century examines the nuts-and-bolts of the way Republicans have been building this sturdy foundation aimed at achieving successive election victories.

At a time when Republicans have not articulated a clear strategy in the Iraq war and have bungled the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, "One Party Country" suggests that the immediate priority and long-range plan of the Republican Party is wrapped up in winning elections. With so much of the focus on electoral tactics, the offshoot is that governing the country takes a secondary role.

"One Party Country" does a good job of spelling out the GOP electoral strategy objectively and in detail, and without evidence of partisan leanings.

Written by two investigative reporters for the Los Angeles Times, Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallsten, this book shows the signs of incisive journalistic digging. Early on, a minihistory lesson shows how the Republicans seized the opportunities for electoral success afforded by redistricting, particularly in the South.

More recently, the Republican Party has shown that it is well on its way to flawlessly executing the technique of microtargeting – developing messages and reaching specific individuals who are most likely to vote for a candidate. A new approach to conducting campaigns, it puts the onus on campaign staffs to learn about voters, including those who have not turned out in the past.

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