LAS VEGAS — A big question surrounding Donald Trump’s campaign is to what extent it has a ground game — volunteers who reach out to voters by phone and door-to-door, encouraging them to vote.
A campaign’s ground game is important because it can turn supporters into voters, by giving them a last-minute reminder and instructions where and how to do it. It’s especially important for a candidate like Trump who can turn out thousands for a rally. Those numbers are impressive, but unless his campaign can get them to vote, it doesn’t make a difference.
On Tuesday morning, Trump volunteers Adlee Efraim, 23, and his sister Millie, 20, knocked doors in suburban Las Vegas. They grew up in Beverly Hills and now live in the Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, and they crossed state lines to help out their candidate. Adlee voted for President Obama in 2012, but is all for Trump now.
In a blue blazer, he knocked on the doors while Millie, in a scarf, a white “Make America Great Again” shirt tied in the back, and white dress pants, carried cards listing the neighborhood’s caucus location.Image Credit: Hunter Schwarz/Independent Journal Review
With a list of registered Republicans, they criss crossed the streets of a neighborhood in Summerlin.
“Aren’t you guys too young to be following Trump?” one man asked after answering the door for them.
They said out of the roughly 300 doors they’ve knocked since Sunday, about 50 people said they were supporting Trump, about 10 weren’t, and about 10 were undecided.Image Credit: Hunter Schwarz/Independent Journal Review
Millie said Rubio supporters they’ve encountered are sometimes persuadable, while the Cruz ones are set on their guy. But the sense they’ve gotten is Cruz is struggling with credibility for many voters.
“Everyone we’ve talked to thinks Cruz is a fake Christian,” Adlee said. They’re not necessarily concerned about Trump’s Christianity, though, because they’re impressed with his children. If his kids turned out so well, Trump can’t be a bad guy.
On the doors they knock, the only sign other campaigns have been there are a few Ben Carson door hangers here and there. They also said earlier they found a package of popcorn from the Cruz campaign.Image Credit: Hunter Schwarz/Independent Journal Review
At one door, Republican Phyllis Whited is enthusiastic when she hears her visitors are from the Trump campaign. But when asked if she’s planning on caucusing in a few hours, she hesitates. She’s never caucused before and when asked which candidate she backed in 2012, she can’t remember.
Millie handed over a card, and Whited said she would caucus for Trump.
“We need a big change, and I have confidence that [Trump’s] going to do it,” Whited said.Image Credit: Hunter Schwarz/Independent Journal Review
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to questions about how many doors have been knocked on, but at the Nevada campaign headquarters, about 20 people were on the phone making calls.
Trump’s state headquarters, about a ten-minute drive southwest of the Strip, was crowded Tuesday. Supporters were coming in asking for their caucus location or asking for “Make America Great Again” hats.Image Credit: Hunter Schwarz/Independent Journal Review
And Adlee pointed out, it was upstairs from a Cruz office. Not the Cruz campaign office, but for Cruz Auto & Fleet Services, Inc.
This Cruz wasn’t supporting the candidate Cruz, he noted, smiling.
In the window sat a Trump sign.Image Credit: Hunter Schwarz/Independent Journal Review
At the very least, Trump’s ground game has made sure its campaign headquarters neighbors are on board.