Among the most important metrics in evaluating a campaigns operations is its ground organization. The 2012 GOP candidates are proving to be lackluster when it comes to their ground games.
This week we learned that two of the biggest names in the GOP primary will not appear on the Virginia primary ballot because they did not collect enough signatures to qualify. This is one of the most basic tasks of a campaign: to ensure the candidate has ballot access in all 50 states.
To many it may seem absurd that the GOP frontrunner Newt Gingrich will not be appearing on the ballots of some states. But this is exactly the reality that Gingrich faces as he prepares to battle Mitt Romney for the nomination.
This does not mean that Gingrich will not receive votes in these states. He can choose to forge ahead and launch a write in effort but such efforts often require the aid of expensive campaign consultants. Such an effort will end up more expensive than what would have been the cost of meeting the signature threshold to appear on the ballot.
What's even more troubling is that many of the candidates that are leading in the national polls have not set up any type of complex ground organization that will be necessary to ensure turnout in the early primary states. These states can make or break candidacies by giving candidates momentum or slowing fundraising and support.
How can any of these candidates make a credible claim that they can defeat the greatest political machine in U.S. History if they are unable to meet the fundamental and basic expectations of campaign organizing? Some will argue that whoever goes on to win the nomination will be given resources and staff to help them match Obama's efforts.
Any claim to that effect disregards the realities of President Obama's campaign. The President has an unmatched fundraising operation, unprecedented field operation, and revolutionary web presence. For all the talk of making Obama "A one term president," it seems that the GOP primary is actually increasing Obama's odds of attaining four more years in the White House.