Opinion

Modern Campaigning: Trump Victory's Unprecedented Ground Game

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Posted: May 07, 2020 12:01 PM
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Modern Campaigning: Trump Victory's Unprecedented Ground Game

Source: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Running a modern and sophisticated national campaign is an enormous feat under normal circumstances, let alone during the coronavirus pandemic that our country is currently facing. As President Trump leads the country through this crisis with impressive strength and rapid response time, his campaign has followed in his footsteps by shifting its focus from a traditional, face to face, ground operation to an entirely virtual one. Thankfully, under President Donald Trump and RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel’s leadership we have the tools and resources to meet the challenge of running a successful virtual campaign.

Currently, Trump Victory -- the joint field effort between President Donald Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee -- has over 800 paid staffers, spanning 23 states and is continuing to grow rapidly. While the paid staff effort is impressive, the backbone of our operation is President Trump’s dedicated army of volunteers.

In the 2020 cycle, the Trump Victory team will engage over 2 million volunteers. We will rely on those dedicated supporters to re-elect President Donald Trump and Republicans across the country by taking the president’s message directly to voters at their door and over the phone. These 2 million plus individuals are trained through our Trump Victory Leadership Initiative (TVLI) training program – the premier political training program that prepares volunteers to be organizers in their community. They are exclusively composed of everyday Americans passionate about taking ownership of their own neighborhoods and communities – fighting for President Trump while he is fighting for them.

In our TVLI trainings, volunteers learn how to recruit their friends and neighbors, organize voter contact efforts, register voters (unique to each state), and gain tools for leveraging social media to talk about President Trump and his accomplishments. It is an intensive process that produces leaders ready to organize within their communities.

In the 2016 cycle, we trained 5,000 volunteers, which grew to 25,000 in 2018. By Election Day 2020, we will have trained over 100,000 volunteers to be leaders in their community. All the volunteers we train become a part of our Neighborhood Team program.

This rapid growth in engagement and training is a remarkable testament to the approval and enthusiasm for how President Trump is leading our nation.

After the presidential election in 2012, the Republican Party took an honest, hard look at our approach to organizing and completely overhauled the way we approach our ground game. That meant getting out of “field offices” and into living rooms, coffee shops, community centers and neighborhoods where voters spend most of their time. The brick and mortar approach to campaigning is over. The emphasis on renting large or expensive offices, full of phone banks, to win over voters was an antiquated way of campaigning. Starting with the 2014 cycle, we deployed a permanent, data-driven ground game that emphasized the need to build lasting relationships with voters. Every volunteer with a smartphone and an internet connection is our version of an “office”.

We have been building and expanding on our national effort since the 2014 cycle. That longevity and familiarity with communities across the country allow us to overcome challenges that arise together. COVID-19 has impacted our country in unprecedented ways and changed the way we live our daily lives. As a result, we had to adjust our field team to a new reality.

On March 13th, 2020, the entire field team went 100% “online,” making the campaign completely virtual within 24 hours. This illustrates the strength and unique flexibility of our team, one that can’t just be built overnight. Every TVLI training, every meeting with activists, and every voter contact has been done virtually since that time.

Over the last six weeks, our team has made over 20 million voter contacts and engaged over 1 million volunteers across the country. Additionally, over 31,000 Americans have used tools like vote.gop to register to vote or receive an absentee ballot.

The transition to a virtual campaign has been seamless, and while we are operating under these rules, the Trump Victory effort has not missed a beat. We take our cues from our president, who leads by example in finding new and efficient ways to serve the citizens of the United States. While Democrats and Joe Biden struggle to set up video conferencing in his basement, Republicans are running full steam ahead – employing modern day technology to ensure President Trump’s reelection this November.