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Fri May 27, 2016, 02:29 PM


Republicans have their nominee, but Democrats are winning the ground game battle ó and thatís what m

FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2016 10:29 AM EDT

Republicans have their nominee, but Democrats are winning the ground game battle ó and thatís what matters

The GOP remains fractured as Democrats continue to master grassroots operations


Pundits have made quite a bit of noise lately about Donald Trumpís surge in the national polls. In the last week, we saw Trump overtake Clinton in The Washington Post/ABC News poll and nearly close the gap in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. The trend lines are interesting, but otherwise these numbers are useless; itís fodder for talking heads. Until both parties have settled on their nominee, national polls are insignificant.

What should concern Republicans, however, is their national infrastructure problem. In many ways, the Senate races and the down-ballot contests are more important than the presidential election. Republicans are highly unlikely to win the White House in November. Hillary Clinton is a weak candidate, but, as I noted a few weeks ago, the GOP has an Electoral College problem that is difficult to overcome. If the Democrats carry Florida and the 19 states that voted blue in the last six presidential elections, Clinton wins. Given his unpopularity among minorities, women, and moderate voters, Trump will have a hard time winning swing states like Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

This makes down-ballot races all the more significant. To remain a robust opposition party, Republicans will need to preserve their majorities in the House and Senate, and that means voter-turnout operations are essential. Theyíre likely safe on the House side, thanks largely to gerrymandered districts, but the Senate majority is another story. And part of the problem is the infrastructure gap between Republicans and Democrats.

Donald Trump has won a lot of primary votes. What he hasnít done is unify the donor and establishment wings of the party. Worse still, he has no ground game operations in key battleground states. In Florida and Ohio, for example, Clinton has massively out-organized Trump and is better prepared to turnout the base in November. As a consequence, the organizational and fundraising burden falls squarely on the RNC, and so far theyíre not up to the challenge.


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