To win the next presidential race, the GOP will have to understand what went wrong in 2012. To do that, they've got to come to grips with what did, and did not, happen with turnout.
Even as Republicans have engaged in some agonizing over their candidate and agenda, many have sought comfort in the notion that a big part of the loss came down to simple mechanics. President Obama had a stunning Election Day operation, which turned out his base. Mitt Romney's shop, by contrast, failed to get people to the polls. That explanation is soothing because it suggests that, in the future, all the GOP needs is a slicker piece of get-out-the-vote software.