By Robert J. Garrison
Donald Trump’s focus on the size of his rallies and on poll numbers is misguided. All throughout the primaries Trump would pull out polls showing how well he was doing against the GOP field. People chalked this up to his ego and narcissism but in reality it was a manifestation of something much worse, his lack of focus on building a ground game.
A ground game is a local organized team whose job it is to target voters through mailings, calling, voter drives and other GOTV (Get Out the Vote) efforts for a candidate running for office. Donald Trump has been fortunate to be able to run a primary race without much of a ground game. However, a nationwide campaign is very different from a party’s nomination campaign. A candidate must have boots on the ground in order to get as many people to the polls to vote for them. A successful national ground game is a necessity if Trump wishes to reach people outside the GOP sphere, like Independent voters.
Donald Trump is relying on the Republican National Committe, the RNC, to build the ground game for him. Back in May, former RNC National Chairman Michael Steele laughed when asked if the RNC could be a candidate’s entire ground game.
That is part of what they do…I’m sure Paul Manafort and others know they’ve got to put a lot of that ground game in.
In fact, the reason why Donald Trump hired Manafort was to build a ground game and to make sure the campaign headed into the convention with all the delegates that had been won. If Paul Manafort did his job correctly, it would’ve been very easy to change Trump’s campaign infrustructure into a ground game. However reports are not only coming out from the media but also from the campaign, that Paul Manafort did a very poor job.
In an interview in June on Meet the Press, Trumps Campaign Chair Paul Manafort said
Our campaign, frankly, is getting organized. It’s all in words I guess. But we are fully now integrated with the Republican National Committee.
Once again we see that the Trump campaign is relying on the RNC to do the ground game for them.This lack of organization this late in the process is just inexcusable and reckless. More proof of Trump’s lack of organization and focus would be his choice of campaign stops in Maine, New Hampshire, and Connecticut.
Donald Trump campaigning in states like Maine, Connecticut, and New Hampshire, and even Minnesota, makes no sense at all. These states are democratic strongholds. Maine and Connecticut haven’t voted for a Republican for president since 1988. New Hampshire last voted for a Republican back in 2000. Minnesota hasn’t gone to a Republican since 1972! Which brings me to my next point. Donald Trump’s lack of focus on the most important thing, the electoral college.
Donald Trump’s focus on the size of rallies and polls numbers is misplaced. Having a large crowd at rallies does not always equate to votes, just ask Mitt Romney. Romney had large crowds at many rallies throughout the Presidential campaign but came up way short of winning the election. The United States is not a democracy but a Republic, which means that we do not elect a president by popular vote. We elect a president through the Electoral College. Donald Trump needs to forget about the polls and keep his focus where it matters, on the Electoral College.
As of right now Hillary Clinton is around 253 and Donald Trump is at around 206 in the Electoral College. That means Donald Trump would need to win all the swing states of Ohio, Florida, Iowa, Nevada and Pennsylvania to reach 272. This seems highly unlikely since Pennsylvania has always turned out to be fools gold for Republicans since 1988. Not winning Pennsylvania would give Hillary 273 and the win.
If Donald Trump wants to win this race, then he should focus every effort in building a strong ground game in every one of those swing states and a few others like Virginia, Wisconsin and North Carolina to reach the 272 threshold.
Finally with 70 some days left in the campaign, Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, says the campaign is going to work on beefing up its ground game in the coming weeks.
So what we’re trying to do this week is get an assessment of where we really are state by state…We’re going to start deploying people who are very talented in different states and bring them to these seven or eight swing states that then we plan on expanding to 10 or 11.
However, Donald Trump has proven he doesn’t listen to his advisors but instead to his instincts. Sometimes those instincts have gotten Donald Trump off track and down the rabbit hole. It is because of this that makes it so hard to predict what will happen. With all that said, during this election cycle we have learned one thing, that all the political pundits and political elites have been wrong on what Donald Trump should be doing. Maybe they are wrong about this as well, or maybe this is the one time where Donald Trump’s instincts are wrong…we shall see.
Robert J. Garrison is a political and religious writer for The Systems Scientist. You can connect with him directly in the comments section, follow him on Twitter or on Facebook, or catch up on his articles in the Archives.
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