Donald Trump has no campaign on the ground. He claims that traditional voter mobilization efforts are “overrated” and that he will win by virtue of his powerful personal message, which he has little trouble spreading on the internet and via free media attention. His new campaign manager, Kelly Ann Conway, claims that Trump’s slumping poll numbers are bogus; that there are millions of secret Trump voters out there who are unwilling to announce their support of Trump to pollsters because supporting Trump has become “socially undesirable.” You read that right folks. Conway’s best pitch for her Guy’s popularity is that voters are ashamed to admit they support him.
The reality is that Trump will lose on Election Day because he cannot deliver on any of his claims and promises, which makes it impossible to organize and execute a traditional campaign ground game. He is counting on voters choosing him for the same reason I bought the “Dean Martin’s Celebrity Roasts” DVDs a few years back; drowsiness and nostalgia. (For discussion of Trump’s use of nostalgia go here, here, and here).
Trump is relying on the RNC for 100% of his voter mobilization/ GOTV efforts. He’s doing this for the same reason that products advertised on late-night TV are “not sold in stores.” He has a very superficially attractive pitch to a niche audience. Too much direct interaction with voters inside and outside of his target demographic would risk (over)exposing the fraudulence of his pitch and candidacy. He can’t afford to have his target audience ask too many questions or be exposed too directly to his product. He hopes that GOP ground troops, as opposed to Trump campaigners, can distract voters from his fraudulent candidacy to some extent by wrapping him up with their pitch for a GOP-controlled federal government.
It’s one thing for Trump’s media surrogates to face the press and try to spin his candidacy as a serious one. Trump’s surrogates can (and do) always blame the liberal media for their gaffes and embarrassing inability to make a reasonable case for Trump. Trump organizers working on the ground, however, would not have this escape hatch. When the folks they would be trying to mobilize want to look under the hood or delve into the details, Trump field organizers would have few acceptable answers. They wouldn’t have the liberal media to scapegoat. They wouldn’t be able to disguise Trump’s scam from voters getting an up close look. Trump has to be the center of attention and he has to keep his marks focused on his (incredibly superficial) framing, which seems to be focused on nostalgia rather than a future Trump Administration. If he had a truly revolutionary product, he would gladly employ a national distribution plan that would allow potential customers to get a closer look, ask questions of local sales people, and buy without high pressure sales tactics.
At the end of the day, Trump has no sales people on the ground in the states because his candidacy isn’t nearly good enough to survive that level of voter scrutiny at the point of sale.