Why Democrats Are Worried

The Republican victory in last week’s special election in Florida’s 13th District proves that Democrats are on defense as we head to November. Even President Obama’s top advisor David Plouffe said it was a “screaming siren” warning Democrats’ of their weaknesses. There’s no doubt Florida 13 has Democrats increasingly worried about losing the Senate.

And they should be worried. Not only did it show that their policies—especially ObamaCare—are unpopular, but Republicans were able to benefit from the RNC’s new voter engagement strategy, which includes the new data tools, new technology, and new permanent ground game that we’re using all across the country. We were able to support the great work of the National Republican Congressional Committee and equip the committee and the campaign with data and staff so that they didn’t have to expend precious resources.

This strategy came about last March, after the release of the Growth and Opportunity Project report. I had convened this post-election review, and for three months the project’s co-chairs received input from 52,000 individuals about what the party could do to grow and win more elections.

One year ago this Tuesday they announced their recommendations, and I announced the steps we would take at the RNC in response. Not all the recommendations were for the RNC, but we were committed to doing our part.

Our part focused on three main areas: building a permanent ground game to engage with more voters, improving our voter contact data and developing new tools for candidates and campaigns, and putting Republicans--not the liberal media--in the driver’s seat for presidential primaries and debates.

In just one year, we’ve accomplished a great deal. We’ve been able to support candidates up and down the ballot and across the country with field staff; 91 percent of our political staff isn’t in Washington, DC. They’re in the field, around the clock.

We’ve also empowered other committees, campaigns, and candidates with better data. We’ve invested in new predictive analytics to better understand what matters to voters, and we’re using a new API to facilitate data collection and sharing across groups and campaigns.

Looking toward 2016, we’ve taken steps toward taking control of the primary debates. We’ll decide on the venues and moderators, and we’ll ensure that the primary and the debates are informative for voters and give the candidates a chance to make their cases. And by moving the convention to an earlier date, our eventual nominee will start the general election in a position of strength.

Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve done overall.

During this last year as we’ve listened to more voters and spent time in communities, we’ve had people tell us that we need to do a better job of explaining what Republicans stand for and why people should vote Republican.

Today, in response to that concern, we’ve launched a new ad campaign featuring real Republicans telling their fellow Americans what issues matter to them and why they are Republicans. You can view these ads at www.CreateYourAmericanDream.com. This positive message is something we want to take to all voters in all communities.

The RNC will continue to build on the foundation we’ve laid over the past year. Thanks to our efforts after the Growth and Opportunity Project, our candidates should have more tools and resources at their disposal this year than ever before--to contact more voters and make real connections. That’s not the only thing it takes to win, but it’s a critically important part.


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