We’ve heard it said for years that a ground game is crucial to success in any political campaign. A campaign that’s willing to knock on doors and speak to people directly can get more votes.
In a pandemic year, the Democrats have shied away from door knocking, while the Republicans have stepped up their ground game, and it may be making a difference in Florida, as the GOP has appeared to close the gap in voter registration, cutting the deficit of registered voters to just 185,000 voters behind the Democrats.
Yahoo News reports that Republican strategists are hoping to turn the uptick in GOP voters into victory:
“We’ve turned our focus to voter registration in a more meaningful way than before. Everyone said you can’t do it — get the gap between Republicans and Democrats to such a small number. Well, you can do it,” Susie Wiles, the Florida campaign director for Trump, told POLITICO.
“We did it through the mail, but the main way we had success was at the doors,” she said. “And because the Democrats aren’t meeting people at their doors like our campaign is doing, we are having great success.”
And it’s not just the Trump campaign noticing the rise in Republican voters. Republican pollster Ryan Tyson told Yahoo News:
“When we manage to get 57,000 new registrants in a month, It’s historic. And a lot of that is just organic,” he said. “Something’s in the water and with 41 days out of the election, we find ourselves beating the Democrats at their own game.”
On the other side of the coin, Florida Democrats have realized that it may be too late in the game to create an upswing in blue voters to match the GOP’s efforts. Many Democratic insiders blame the rules set by the Biden campaign, as well as the mixed messages that many activities are off limits in a pandemic while protests are just fine.
At the same time, the Biden campaign remains confident that the Democrats’ efforts prior to 2020 have been enough to ensure success.
One left-leaning PAC spokesperson told Yahoo News that the GOP is endangering potential voters by not wearing masks when knocking on doors. I don’t know whether Republican activists are following protocols or not, but that’s quite an accusation to level.
Will the GOP’s efforts make a difference? Obviously, we won’t know for a few weeks, but they can’t have hurt the Republicans’ chances. If the Republicans make gains in Florida, it’ll definitely prove the old adage that ground game makes a difference – even during a pandemic.