It wasn’t supposed to be this way. When Hillary Clinton – a former First Lady, two-term Senator from New York, and Secretary of State – announced her campaign in April of last year, she was the inevitable front-runner and faced token opposition from a cast of nobodies. She was going to amass a massive war chest no one could compete with, put together a 50-state strategy on the ground, and the DNC was going to protect her by holding debates when low viewership was guaranteed. That was then.
Now, Clinton is fighting to hang on against a 74-year old gadfly socialist from Vermont who has managed to keep pace with her fundraising prowess with an army of small donors. As much as 90 percent of the Clinton campaign’s resources are now divided between her Brooklyn campaign headquarters and Iowa, where a loss – or even a narrow win – will send shockwaves through the Democrats’ nominating calendar. Given that Clinton is behind double digits in New Hampshire and there are growing signs of weakness in her so-called ‘southern firewall,’ it’s clear anything but a resounding win in Iowa will be a loss for her campaign.
A prolonged primary against Sanders will only pull Clinton even further to the left and prevent her from laying the groundwork for the general election. That’s a problem Republican candidates don’t have to worry about. The RNC raised more than $105 million in 2015 – a record for an off-year despite not holding the White House – and outraised the DNC by $70 million since 2013. Our massive fundraising advantage has allowed the RNC to build a permanent, data-driven ground game that has been running general election simulations since last year.
The RNC is the only organization right now leveraging an infrastructure which is registering voters, knocking on doors, and recruiting volunteers in all battleground states. Our operation will only continue to grow, with more than 2,000 paid staff and more than 2 million organizers on the ground by election day. Meanwhile, the DNC has been relegated to complete irrelevance on the presidential landscape.
We’ve spent the last four years building relationships with voters all around the country. Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said back in October, “You can’t just parachute into a state at the last minute and hope to build a campaign overnight.” But with the Clinton machine bogged down in primary states, that’s the grim reality her camp must now face up to.
So when you add it all up, Hillary Clinton can’t afford to limp across the finish line in Philadelphia – expecially not when Republicans are so well-prepared and her poll numbers are in such bad shape. With so much riding on Iowa, Hillary Clinton can’t afford to lose or squeak by – she needs nothing short of a resounding victory.