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Grassroots innovation still matters in a world gone digital

Grassroots innovation still matters in a world gone digital

Elections are changing the way we campaign–it’s time we adapt, or suffer the consequences.

It’s time for Republicans to step up their ground game.

In 2010, nobody doubted that the key to victory was the enormous amount of grassroots support given to candidates like Ted Cruz, who came from behind to whollop well-funded incumbents in important statewide races. In 2012, enthusiasm waned in the wake of the Romney nomination, and may conservatives doubted how successful Republicans would be, given the apparent weakness of the top-ticket candidate.

In 2014, enthusiasm for a true, election-winning ground game has all but waned. Not because of any one candidate in particular, but because of the realization that using old tactics on the same audience is no longer a winning strategy.

In Texas, we’re seeing a groundswell of support for groups like Battleground Texas, who are quickly filling their ranks with OFA and Obama campaign veterans–and these people know what they’re doing. They’re playing the long game, and they’re not just focusing on devoted liberals like the people we saw supporting Wendy Davis during last year’s abortion rights spectacle.

Groups like Battleground depend on tactics that build relationships outside of the political sphere, and they’re making waves in the current cycle. Via Politico:

The Davis campaign’s bet is that, with the help of the grassroots-focused group Battleground Texas, it can increase turnout just enough with women and minorities to push her into viable territory. The campaign also touts its ground game: by its count, nearly 18,700 people have volunteered in some capacity, knocking on about 170,000 doors and making more than 1.4 million phone calls. Davis noted that the financial support has been “groundbreaking in terms of the sheer number of people donating to the race.” (Her team claims more than 133,000 individual donors.)

Conservatives proved in 2010 that they’re capable of running a spectacular ground game, but changing demographics and a greater emphasis on cultural diversity demand we broaden the spectrum of people we’re reaching out to during campaign season.

Battleground has stressed that its goals extend beyond 2014, though Brown emphasized in an interview that this year’s cycle is just as important as the broader effort — “it’s about winning every single election you’re in,” she said. In any case, it’s clear that Battleground, rather than Davis specifically, is what worries Republicans in a state where the Democratic-leaning Latino population is growing rapidly.

Democrats may be the underdogs, but they believe in their candidates. They understand the importance of planning ahead, and talking to voters all over the country about why their policies will help improve the lives of Americans; it’s time for conservatives to join that conversation. It’s important to remember not just who we are, but why we think the way we do about education, job growth, and economic prosperity. We need to get out into communities we’ve never visited before and explain to voters why conservative policies have made states like Texas a great place to live and do business.

If we fail to do this, the Democrats will have a very easy job of convincing moderates and independents that Republicans really are the party of no–it’s hard to defend yourself if you don’t bother to show up.


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Agreed–nothing can be taken for granted. That said (posted?), I’m looking forward to playing Concrete Blonde’s song, “Tomorrow, Wendy”, on the eve of Election Day as a foreshadowing of things to come.

For those who know the song, you do know that I’m waxing metaphorical, right?

Juba Doobai! | June 27, 2014 at 8:00 pm

Note how the influx of illegals are taken to mean immediate votes for Democrats.

“The campaign also touts its ground game: by its count, nearly 18,700 people have volunteered in some capacity, knocking on about 170,000 doors and making more than 1.4 million phone calls. Davis noted that the financial support has been “groundbreaking in terms of the sheer number of people donating to the race.” (Her team claims more than 133,000 individual donors.)”

Let’s be very clear about the political temperature in Texas. Yes, Texas Republicans are taking Battleground Texas very, very seriously. To do anything else is to stick our heads in the sand. Battleground Texas, a creation of the Democracy Alliance, which turned Colorado blue, is quite clear about its intentions for Texas.

But when the Democracy Alliance turned Colorado blue, in 2010 they turned their attention to Texas. 2010 Texas was going to be the next “battleground” where they intended to plant their flag. They failed miserable, so now they have reconstituted, and renamed themselves, in another attempt.

So how is it going?

According to Politico’s Wendy Davis cheerleader, Battleground Texas said:

“Jenn Brown, the executive director of Battleground Texas, acknowledged in an interview that the race remains a tough one — she pointed to historically low voter turnout in Texas,”

In the March, 2014 primary, Gregg Abbott, the front runner in the Republican primary, won with 1,333,100 Republican votes cast. Wendy Davis, not so much with only 546,523 Democrat votes cast in the entire primary. Perhaps Ms. Brown is looking at Democrat voter turn out.

Wendy Davis also bombed, where in 22 counties not one vote was cast for her, and in 17 other counties, Madrigal, a little known pro-life Hispanic that didn’t even bother to campaign across the state, beat her. And where did he beat her? In those Hispanic majority counties where Wendy’s campaign fund raising has absolutely bombed.

Wendy is not pulling money from Texas donors. That is why she is campaigning in New York, D.C. and on the West Coast. Her campaign is such a disaster that the Democratic Governor’s Association has declined to donate any funds to help her along. When the DGA turns their back on you, you might as well go to the barn.

Davis is not going to win, and Battleground Texas is not making any inroads, no matter how they spin the numbers. The thief has easy access to your wallet when you leaving it laying on the kitchen counter, go to bed and leave the door unlock. TxGOP is not leaving the door unlocked.

stevewhitemd | June 27, 2014 at 8:43 pm

Ms. Miller is absolutely right in her observations that the Democrats play a long game and that they believe in their candidates. A third observation: it’s a relatively small cabal of hard-left, progressive planners who make all this happen. They have a tight, interlocking network and cooperate via their memberships in and leadership of all the usual progressive groups. They have plenty of 2nd and 3rd tier helpers, of course, but it’s the nomenklatura who make it happen.

The Pubs simply don’t do this well, AND they don’t have a long game, AND they view their better candidates with substantially greater cynicism.

    retire05 in reply to stevewhitemd. | June 27, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    The problem is not the boots on the ground for the GOP, it’s the national leadership. Somewhere along the line, leadership was convinced that the reason we lost elections was due to not being “centrist” enough. Hence, McCain and Romney, who were destined to lose to a man the left thinks is charismatic. If you remember, Hillary was the shoe-in for ’08 until Obama came along.

    What needs to be done is a real shake-up in the GOP leadership. The old guard needs to be retired for the new guard. But they will not go gently into the night, as we just saw in Mississippi.

After #missen, I am so psyched to go knock on doors for the GOP! Ground Game! Energy! Principles! Victory! Convservativism! Rah! Boom! Bah! Goooooo! Team!

nuts. who am I kidding.

TrooperJohnSmith | June 29, 2014 at 7:19 am

Meanwhile, the GOP in-fights, with some of us threatening to “stay home” if our guy ain’t on the ticket.

[Practicing hold-my-nose voting]