Ali Alexander is something of veteran in the Republican digital game and he sees warning signs for the reelection of President Donald Trump–and he cannot keep quiet about.
When Alexander was growing up he learned politics when his lawyer mother took him with her to phone-bank for local judges, but he said he did not start helping Republicans with websites and digital communications after the party lost the House and Senate in 2006, so 2008 was his first cycle.
“I penned a piece criticizing the John McCain campaign during the primaries and they invited me onto the campaign,” he said.
Back then, he said there were about 25 people working GOP digital communications and he was at the right place at the right time.
Now, he is the old-timer, looking at a Trump campaign led by a first-time campaign manager, Brad Pascale, with a first-time leader of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, he said.
Let’s ask every Republican voter here on Twitter:
How are Ronna Romney-McDaniel and Tommy Hicks doing?
Vote, Retweet and reply!
— Ali Alexander 🟧 (@ali) July 7, 2020
Trump’s campaign advantages are not leveraged
In the 2016 campaign, Pascale ran the Trump campaign’s digital communications and outreach from his offices in San Antonio, Texas, as the rest of the campaign was run out of Trump Tower. Before the Trump presidential campaign, Pascale built websites for Trump-related companies, but had little if any political work.
McDaniel’s first experience in active politics was when she worked in the 2o12 presidential campaign for her uncle W. Mitt Romney and then in 2015 became the chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party. In 2017, she took over from Reince Priebus as the head of the Republican National Committee.
“We’re going to look back at this and say: ‘Ooops, why did we appoint new people to do something, where we needed an institutional advantage?’” Alexander said.
“The presidency, Air Force One and Trump’s natural instincts are a blessing, but at the end of the day, who can get out the vote?” he said. “And how are we going to get out the vote during COVID?”
Alexander said it also amazes him how many people around Trump in the White House and on the campaign present themselves as experts or having been a part of the president’s success.
“There is literally one person who deserves credit for everything—for the fundraising numbers, for the record attendances, for the branding, for the rhetoric—all of it, and that’s Donald Trump,” he said.
“This guy is breaking what we know as science,” he said. “He’s just breaking it, so what happens is you get a lot of staffers who say: ‘Oh, we got do this. We got to do that.’ He’s got all these people on the advance team and it all comes down to Trump.”
Tulsa rally should set off alarms at Trump campaign
With all the advantages of incumbency and all the positive attraction surrounding Trump, his June 20 campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma did not live up to the hype Pascale fueled when he announced there were one million ticket requests and there would be an overflow rally outside the hall.
Alexander said given the genuine concerns about COVID-19, people would have accepted a smaller venue with lower expectations. What he would not accept is that had a process to screen the hundreds of thousands of bogus ticket requests.
Pascale had to know, but there were no countermeasures taken to protect from the spammers and the bots, he said.
“The signs were there in the data—if you have people signing up evenly from all over the country and there was no concentration of event goers—it is just obvious,” he said.
“Brad knew he was getting spammed,” he said. “But, when they should have realized that when 20 percent of your tickets were not from Dallas-Fort Worth—Tulsa was a dumb location and the first competent decision should have been: ‘Let’s close the overflow.’”
It was like no one was paying attention as the reality of a half-full hall was becoming obvious, he said. “The fact that they still believed going into the day of that they were going to get an overflow—with that much spam.”
It was as if Pascale was making a bet that at least 100,000, or 50,000, or even 40,000 people would show up, he said. “How could 40,000 people not show up? Well, now we know.”
Trump campaign, RNC wasted last three years not registering new voters
What Alexander did not say is that given the ease with which the leftists could punk the rally ticket process and the Trump campaign’s reliance on data from rally ticket requests, it could mean that the campaign’s whole data universe is worthless for turning out the Trump voters.
This list will make you want to cry or fight (both?)
The State of the GOP at the end of June is very bad
Morale is low; speculation is wild; tension is rising
Why won't GOP leadership back Trump up?
Why won't all of you hold GOP leaders accountable? https://t.co/1VuuOKy9OQ
— Ali Alexander 🟧 (@ali) June 26, 2020
Alexander did say that low turnout from Democrats, especially from union households and black communities, in 2016 was the major reason why Hillary Clinton lost.
The union voters who stayed home cost Hillary Michigan and Wisconsin, at least, he said.
“We also know that black turnout was low,” he said. “Hillary did not reach the Obama 2012 levels, so there’s Jacksonville, there’s Raleigh, there’s Charlotte, there’s Richmond, there’s Pittsburgh, there’s Philly, there’s Detroit, there’s Milwaukee and it becomes clear that if we don’t have a strategy to separate Joe Biden from Democrats, who hated Hillary, but are indifferent to Biden, we will lose.”
Alexander said turnout challenges can be overcome by registering new voters, but the RNC and the Trump campaign did not make registering new voters a priority in the last three years.
“There aren’t enough new voters,” he said.
“I have a memo up on my website, Brad Pascale was given in 2019 that said: ‘Hey, there’s a bunch of non-college educated white people, who aren’t registered to vote, if we register these people, we never have to dilute our message, we can just go after our base,’” he said.
“Without new voters, we’ve got to hope to divide the Democrats,” he said.
“I think it’s possible, but you don’t see any, any coherent message from the campaign,” he said.
Alexander said he is speaking out, because many professional political operatives know exactly what happened, but no one wants to be the first one shot.
If Trump loses 2021 will get ugly
The hope is that the president will fix what needs to be fixed and get reelected, because what comes next is going to a tsunami of discontent, he said.
“We’re about to see something that is going to dwarf the Tea Party in 2021, if Trump loses,” he said.
“It will not only be political and I am trying to do my best to steer it into productive energy, patriotic energy, but people are underestimating the historic nature of how many people are awake—and they are more awake than ever before.”
– – –
Neil W. McCabe is a Washington-based national political reporter for The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. In addition to The Star newspaper, he has covered the White House, Capitol Hill and national politics for One America News, Breitbart, Human Events and Townhall. Before coming to Washington, he was a staff reporter for Boston’s Catholic paper, The Pilot, and the editor of two Boston-area community papers, The Somerville News and The Alewife. McCabe is a public affairs NCO in the Army Reserve and he deployed for 15 months to Iraq as a combat historian.
Photo “Ali Alexander” by Ali Alexander.