The novelty act, the half time show, the entertainment factor - just a couple of the names that have been thrown at the next possible President of the USA, Donald Trump. Racist, anti-semitic, misogynist and sexist - just a few more labels that Trump has acquired over this tumultuous campaign.
Many have fallen by the wayside, better-prepared individuals, more experienced politicians, hardened campaigners and yet, it is the real estate mogul who is the Republicans choice. Many are asking why this happened but failing to realize the magnificence of it all.
Thriving on media attention alone, Trump succeeded in securing the GOP nomination amidst a whirlwind of hate and attacks on his character (most warranted, of course). Now it seems it was all part of his elaborate plan - use these wild, controversial and defamatory comments to garner votes. Enrage the enraged some more, play on the public's fear. A master of the media, Trump left his GOP opposition scratching their heads.
Given all the emphasis we place on a strong ground game, it is interesting to note that Trump has got this far without one. Rewriting the history book on political campaigns, Trump has made this battle virtual. The important thing to consider is if he will be able to keep it up, the primaries were merely the beginning.
Hillary Clinton, like many others, has sought inspiration from Obama’s emphatic use of data mining from 08’ and 12’ - reportedly spending $5 million on technology and data mining operations which allowed her to micro-target swing voters down to their purchasing, reading and media consumption habits.
Her campaign staff is rumored to be upwards of 800 people compared to that of Trump’s 100 man army. Clinton has amassed a volunteer base of nearly 10,000 volunteers which stands head and shoulders above Trump. In theory, the New York mogul isn’t meant to be succeeding without ground game.
The Donald won in the Pennsylvania primary by using his small team in a very strategic manner.
Alexander Shorb, the chairman of the York County GOP who ran as an uncommitted delegate candidate in the 4th District and lost to the pro-Trump candidates, visited polling locations throughout the day. He estimates that 80 percent of pro-Trump voters showed up to the polls with their slate card or with the names of the pro-Trump delegates on their phones. For those who came unprepared, teams of Trump volunteers were stationed at many polling locations, giving out information on the Trump slate to supporters in line to vote.
"There was a Trump supporter handing out literature only for Donald Trump at almost every polling location in York County," says Shorb. "I went to the heaviest [trafficked] polls and there was not one person handing out Cruz material at any one of them. So as far as a ground game, he had none.” So while Trump doesn't have the army of Clinton, he is able to organize in such a manner that he capitalizes at the best moments.
While many senior Republican party members went out of their way to try and negate the Trump ascendency, they failed to address the issue at hand: provide an alternative!
Cruz, Kasich, Rubio, Carson and much more failed. They became unstuck in trying to usurp Trump instead of trying to win themselves. Sabotaged by their own sabotaging.
A party in crisis, many don’t want Trump, but Trump wants them. Flying under the guise of Republicanism, Trump has latched onto the voters fleeing the nest. It is the Republican machine which has failed to keep their own supporters together. Paul Ryan, the US House Speaker has openly declined to endorse Trump - publicly inviting a civil war to break out amongst the party, meanwhile, Clinton waits happily in the wings.
Now it seems the GOP are leaving the self-destruction button in Trump’s own hands. With no apparent opposition emerging, he will go forward and do battle with Clinton/Sanders in November. Leaving the party to squabble, we will have to see if Trump can replicate his winning ways on to the grander scale of the Presidential race. Only time will tell if his strategy will win out and he will get his hands on 'the Ring'.