Politics

From Trump's Doral resort, Republicans say they're 'ready to defy history'

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel

The RNC is not in denial.

The Republican National Committee knows the nation's ruling party historically loses ground in midterm elections, and that the headwinds leading into November favor the Democrats. They know that the president is constantly in the news at the center of the controversy of the day.

But Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel says the party is not sweating.

In Doral this week for its spring meeting, the RNC dismissed the talk of a surging left, and touted the construction of the kind of wall made to hold back a Democratic "blue wave." On Friday, from the Trump National Doral, McDaniel acknowledged the challenges that lie ahead, but predicted the party will hold on to the U.S. House of Representatives. In a short speech, she promoted Republicans’ fundraising, their legislative accomplishments and a pricey data program developed over the past six years to help candidates specifically target voters.

“We are ready to defy history,” she said.

Depending on who’s counting, the president’s party tends to lose around 30 seats in Congress during the midterm elections. This year, to rule once again in the House, Democrats must flip about two dozen seats — coincidentally the number of districts where voters favored Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump two years ago, McDaniel noted Friday.

But for all the talk of Democrats taking competitive legislative races over the last year, McDaniel said Republicans still won five of six special congressional elections this year (none of the seats changed hands). And she predicted that tax cuts, a “booming” labor market and an energized grass-roots movement overlooked by an out-of-touch media will keep the party in power.

The midterm trends have “politicos and pundits predicting we can’t keep the House. They warn us of the impending ‘blue wave.’ Democrat enthusiasm is increasing and they are organizing their base,” McDaniel said. “We know we face tough challenges. But we’ve faced obstacles before. We know Democrats are energized. But we’re more passionate than we’ve ever been. We know they are ready for a fight. But we’re prepared for a battle.”

A few items that McDaniel touted:

The RNC has raised $171 million during this election cycle.

About $250 million has been invested in a data-based campaign strategy that the party is using to specifically target voters from the most minute of races up to campaigns for the U.S Senate.

The party has trained 12,000 foot soldiers for campaigns around the country — more than double than the number trained in 2016.

“In addition to our communications, data and fundraising teams, we’re taking the money we’ve raised and were investing a quarter of a billion dollars in a midterm election strategy to defend our majorities in Congress," McDaniel said. "That's the largest investment we've ever made."

Democrats are not impressed.

In South Dade Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was equally confident that Republicans are wrong, and that legislation both passed and failed under Trump would tank the party and give Democrats back the House. As McDaniel was touting Trump's accomplishments, Pelosi and national Democrats were highlighting the one-year anniversary of the House vote for the American Healthcare Act.

“I’m not trying to be scary, but there are certain things that are at risk,” Pelosi told a small group gathered Thursday at a Cutler Bay clinic. “They [Republicans] say Medicare should wither on the vine.”

But back in Doral, McDaniel, calling Democrats the “party of obstruction,” said Republicans proved everyone wrong in 2016, and they’ll do it again in November.

“The RNC is in a stronger position than we’ve ever been,” she said.

This article has been updated to correct information about the number of Republican field organizers trained this election cycle. There are 12,000 field organizers in 2018 after 5,000 were trained in 2016.

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