There are probably as many explanations and/or excuses for why the GOP came a cropper last fall as there are Republicans. E. M. Zanotti attempted to explain the situation on Facebook:
The problem with 2012 was three-fold: (1) bad candidates, (2) bad staff, (3) bad marketing. We have bad candidates because the party doesn’t seem to want to undertake the responsibility of actually grooming them — they either pick the next in line, or they let the grassroots “tea party” out their candidates and then gripe when they can’t throw enough money at someone to win. There’s no candidate development at all at the party level. [Two] is also a party problem — the GOP doesn’t reward talent or ingenuity, they reward longevity. That’s why people who have been in the party ten years, who started when smart phones were just a novelty, are considered “digital gurus” — because they don’t know any different and don’t care to. and (3), the party AND the grassroots insist that if we just yell louder and act crazier eventually someone will notice. The Dems did something crazy in 2008: [they] empowered voters who were told to vote but not to research. The problem? No matter how energized your base is, low-information voters won’t respond to the base-energizing message, so you NEED to have both a communications strategy to your already-engaged public, AND a strategy that takes on people who aren’t going to do any investigation before casting your vote. You have to compete on the ground and the airwaves. As much as the GOP wants to believe things haven’t changed since the early 2000s, they have.
Speaking for the establishment, Byron York in a post-election post mortem in the Washington Examiner:
On one end of the spectrum are those who stress the GOP’s failure to appeal to Hispanics and other minorities, arguing that the party must make fundamental changes to broaden its appeal. On the other end are those who stress the GOP’s failure to master even the basics of voter turnout in the last election, along with the flawed candidacy of Mitt Romney, arguing that the party does not need to change its principles or message so much as learn the turnout and messaging techniques used so successfully by the competition.
At this point in its history, the GOP is not capable of grasping the idea that both sides might be correct. The Democrats clearly have it easier, having demonstrated that they can believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast.