“Endangered Species” was the May 2009 cover of Time Magazine . The image displayed an elephant, the political logo for the GOP. Yes, the political media class thought it was the end of the Republican Party. Months later, however, the GOP came back from this supposed near-extinction to ”Fire Pelosi” and take back the U. S. House of Representatives by winning 63 seats, the highest pick up since 1946.
The GOP was certainly not dead.
Fast-forward to 2018 and once again the media elites are predicting doom and gloom for the GOP heading into the midterms. Certainly, history is on their side, considering the party in power traditionally loses seats. But there is something different this year, and it’s the RNC factor. To win, candidates need a great message, money and a strong GOTV operation. In 2018, the RNC, my old employer, has all three.
To put it another way, Chairwoman Ronna McDanielRonna Romney McDanielMinorities and women are leading the red wave RNC pushes back against call for chair's resignation over LGBT outreach Conservatives praise Rittenhouse jury verdict MORE has positioned the RNC to defy history this November. The party is operating its biggest field program to date, with more staff and more money than ever before. And it’s not just our party’s infrastructure that makes the GOP well positioned as we head into midterms — thanks to President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't MORE and a Republican Congress, we’ve got a winning agenda on the ballot, too.
President Trump has aggressively championed his commitment to putting America First. Whether it is the historic tax cuts and low unemployment, conservative judicial appointments, dismantling ISIS, pursuit of peace in the Middle East, progress on the Korean peninsula, securing the border or deregulation, there are plenty of accomplishments to talk about.
The RNC has a tremendous advantage over the DNC in fundraising, with over $42.9 million cash on hand, over $171.6 million for the cycle to date, and zero debt. That’s three times the amount of cash on hand that we had at the same point in the 2014 midterm election cycle. Compare all of this to the DNC, which has $10 million cash on hand, and an even more significant $6.6 million of debt heading into the midterms.
The RNC channels its resources into strategic investments in key states. The ground game includes a growing cadre of diverse leaders who are being trained to go into their communities, engage with the base, and bring new people into the party. This Republican Leadership Initiative program has trained more than 12,000 fellows to date.
Additionally, the RNC has dedicated $200 million in digital, tech, and data work since 2013. The data team has modeled nearly 90 billion voter predictions to date, which help them understand and engage directly with voters all over America. The RNC’s political team is growing its ground game, with state directors working in key states across the country in preparation for the 2018 midterm elections.
President Trump chose to skip the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington, D.C., to be with thousands of supporters at a rally in Washington, Mich. Let’s take at look at Michigan politically. The RNC’s field staff in the state is ready to defeat Democrat Sen. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Dems seek to preserve climate provisions Democrats wrangle to keep climate priorities in spending bill Senate parliamentarian looms over White House spending bill MORE and elect Republicans who will work with President Trump. Under then-Michigan GOP Chair Ronna McDaniel’s leadership in 2016, the RNC had over 50 staffers who helped deliver the upset victory for Donald Trump, which was the first time since 1988 that the state had gone red.
McDaniel’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed — she is now chairwoman of the RNC. If there were ever a leader who could help buck the trend of midterm elections, it would be her.
Meanwhile, the national Democratic Party is an ultra-liberal mess. Whether it is the Democrat-caucusing Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Abortion access for 65M women at stake Hospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan Sanders urges Biden to delay Medicare premium hike linked to Alzheimer's drug MORE proposal of the massively expensive “jobs for all plan” — with no plan to pay for it, their inability to work in a bipartisan fashion to ensure government can run smoothly, their obstruction of the administration’s nominees, or their empty lawsuit because of their 2016 loss, resistance is not a winning message.
There is no doubt this will be a tough election for the GOP to win, especially given the number of Republican members of Congress retiring. But Republicans have a better chance than ever before to defy history under McDaniel’s leadership, with President Trump’s MAGA agenda and the resources necessary to win. If we’re looking at history, let 2002 be our goal – then, the GOP under former President George W. Bush gained seats and controlled the House and Senate.
It will not be easy, but the idea that the GOP is extinct or endangered by President Trump is just false. The GOP has a winning message, great candidates, and a robust ground game. Just remember how the elites claimed that then-candidate Trump would fail. They were wrong, and he’s now president. They’ll be wrong again.
Paris Dennard (@PARISDENNARD) is a communications strategist and GOP political commentator, currently serving as the senior director of Strategic Communications at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Paris served as the associate director for Coalitions at the Republican National Committee from 2009-2011 and worked in the President George W. Bush White House, most notably as The White House Director of Black Outreach.