Whatever Republicans say their path is to maybe contesting some national elections in the future, I think this is the real strategy.
“We didn’t lose because we didn’t have 50 debates,” said Priebus. “I’m talking about having a reasonable number of debates where we can have a greater say in who the moderators are. Because we’ve got moderators who are in the business of making news, at the expense. I think we’re committing malpractice when we have no control over who these moderators are and the formats of these primary debates. I’m sure the grassroots would appreciate that.”
Priebus is saying that the problem was Republican candidates being forced (or allowed) to express themselves too freely, and I think that’s pretty convincing. They could have avoided a lot of War on Women blowback while pursuing the exact same policies, just by getting the Akins and Santorums in the party to shut their mouths.
Less convincing is the idea that it’ll work on something like immigration reform or gay marriage. It may be too late to backtrack, which is why you see moderate Republicans jumping ship. But every time a Republican says they just need to explain their position on immigration better, and change nothing, that’s what they mean: sell GOP policies as everything they aren’t (pro-immigrant, pro-Latino) while avoiding any major gaffes that would betray this lie.