(Headline USA) The Republican National Committee and President Donald Trump’s campaign say they have now hired 1,500 new field staffers, taking advantage of their considerable fundraising edge over Democrats including presumptive Democrat nominee Joe Biden.
Trump Victory, the joint field effort of the two organizations, announced Monday the hiring of an additional 300 staffers set to hit 20 target states by Wednesday in the largest field operation ever mounted by a Republican.
The goal is to turn out votes on behalf of Republicans up and down the ticket this fall. The Trump team says it is on pace to eclipse the 2.2 million volunteer total that helped reelect President Barack Obama in 2012.
Thus far, Obama has remained surprisingly silent after issuing a reluctant endorsement of his former vice president.
Despite mainstream-media-touted polls showing Trump—once again—trailing the Democrat nominee as they did for most of the 2016 election, one forecaster with a better-than-average track record gave Trump a 91 percent chance of winning based on voter enthusiasm.
The entry of rapper Kanye West into the field may also draw key constituencies from Biden among young and nonwhite voters. Although West already is too late to make the ballot for November in several states, he entered the arena polling at 2 percent.
Although Hillary Clinton’s popular-vote victory is widely disputed due to concerns over widespread vote fraud in states like California, her official margin of victory in the 2016 popular vote was 2.1 percent, meaning West could be an effective election spoiler.
“In an election like this, where it’s going to come down to a few thousand votes in a couple of states, that’s when your ground game matters,” said RNC chair Ronna McDaniel.
McDaniel said the staff and volunteers are looking to use the RNC’s vast data trove and voter scores to reach a dwindling swath of swing voters and the far larger universe of low-propensity voters who already like Trump but are unlikely to vote.
The campaign—and more broadly, the RNC—may be banking on public outrage in backlash against recent race riots and cancel culture that have threatened to upend American norms in order to impose a radical, socialism-tinged alternative.
Republicans are quick to note that their staffer count in the field is more than double that of Biden, whose goal was 600 field staffers by the end of June.
Additionally, the RNC staffers have been on the ground for years in some cases, while Biden has only just recently begun rolling out his roster of battleground state directors.
“We have the biggest and best ground game operation ever seen,” said Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh.
“We’ve built lasting relationships with voters on the ground that will power President Trump to victory in November,” Murtaugh continued. “Joe Biden scarcely emerges from his basement, is woefully behind in state organizations and lacks any enthusiasm behind his candidacy.”
Despite longstanding censorship efforts on social-media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube, the RNC has invested more than $350 million on data, technology and field programs since 2013.
A key tool is “Trump Talk,” which harnesses both political and commercial data to provide staffers and volunteers with a dynamic script to use when contacting voters in person or over the phone.
“If you’re knocking the wrong doors, then you’re wasting effort,” McDaniel said.
Already the Trump effort has made more than 55 million voter contacts this presidential cycle—more than it made in all of 2016—and amassed 1.4 million volunteers.
To be counted as a volunteer, “you’ve taken an action that we measure: a phone call, a door knock. Some kind of voter contact,” said RNC chief of staff Richard Walters.
That’s important, said McDaniel, because “the best way to change the mind of a voter is for someone they value to have a conversation with them.”
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press