The Democratic Party convention is this week and the Republican convention is next week. President Trump needs to start campaigning in order to be re-elected, while he faces immense odds – as he did in 2016 – in the form of the Mainstream Media, the education system and Big Tech.
But he faces new odds in addition to those of 2016 – the rallies of 2015-16 (and whatever effect they had upon the results – probably a considerable one) are difficult to impossible to conduct this time, and Biden – or more accurately, his campaign managers – can campaign from his basement. TV cameras point into living rooms, not town halls and convention centers. And Trump is censored on Twitter – although the effectiveness of a Twitter-based campaign is in itself questionable.
Trump needs a campaign that, as political pundits say, can “shake up the race.” Internet warriors like himself abound on social media – we don’t need more of them – and press conferences to an unfriendly media do not turn this campaign around. The MSM prefers to draw an electoral map that gives Texas, Georgia, North Carolina and the Midwest to Biden and leave it at that.
This is why Trump must make a substantial change to his re-election campaign – one more significant than changing the campaign manager. The “Creepy [Sleepy] [Slow] [insert a name-calling adjective] Joe” ads need to be considered, as some voters or potential voters must be asking: what will Trump do over the next four years, if he is re-elected?
Where is Trump’s answer to that question? If there is none so far what are the abundant YouTube campaign ads for?
Voters have heard enough negativity. Trump does not need to add to it.
Trump’s rallies in Arizona, Wisconsin and Minnesota are half encouraging – at least he knows where he needs to campaign. Polling and forecasts (right or wrong) should motivate Trump to campaign in the states he won in 2016 but is now losing. The priorities that must show a polling/forecast improvement by October are the sunshine states of Arizona, Florida and North Carolina. Arizona and Georgia have seen an astonishing turn to the left in the last four years, presumably due to the “suburban women” of Phoenix and Atlanta, respectively, about whom we hear so much. Georgia is not a priority because it remains barely or “leans” Republican at the moment.
Assuming Trump wins Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, etc., the Midwest/Rust Belt is the other region Trump could reasonably win to achieve 270 votes. (He did it in 2016.) With the Sunshine Belt States Trump won in 2016, plus the traditional Republican states and Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin, Trump could tie the electorate. Winning the Second District of Maine would give him the necessary 270. In other words, he could lose Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota (and of course Illinois) while still winning re-election.
But we all agree it would be preferable to do better than this outcome. The world of mail-in ballots, ballot harvesting, ballot recounting and you name it is the evidence that Trump must exceed, rather than meet, 270 electoral votes.
But doing better than 270 does not carry the prerequisite of winning the states of New York, California and New Jersey. Flipping states 20 or 30 points is not realistic when considering the vote totals that come with those numbers.
In New York State Clinton took 4.6 million votes to Trump’s 2.8. If Trump believes he can win a million electoral votes while Biden takes a million less than Clinton’s total (in other words, a complete realignment of the state’s electorate), he should campaign in New York State.
Meanwhile the closer states of New Mexico, Maine, Michigan and Delaware (?) are said to be devoid of Trump’s campaign efforts or in safe Biden territory. Trump should not be more focused on winning over a million votes than winning over fewer than 30,000 voters, which would be enough for Trump to win the First State if demographics hold since last time. (Granted, it’s Biden’s home state, but with an electorate of roughly 400,000 in 2016, a 50,000 gap between the top two isn’t impossible to overcome.) A more focused campaign would understand that the nationwide popular vote does not win the election – Trump should remember that from 2016 – the electoral college does. Small vote totals from swing states or potential swing states are more important than potentially hundreds of thousands of votes in safe Republican or safe Democratic states.
I recognize this does not read like a strategy. Maybe it provides some alternative strategies, if Trump or someone advises him is reading it (highly unlikely!). But there are multiple paths to 270, and some are better than others. Winning the Rust Belt is a good path, while New York isn’t.
But to win the Rust Belt, the Sunshine Belt or any other region of the country, Trump must deliver a campaign – a positive campaign, not a negative one. Amid coronavirus and riots voters have seen enough negativity and Trump’s Creepy Joe ads add more of it to the most negative background to a presidential election in history, arguably even more than in 1812, 1860 and 1932.
Trump must stand out from the lack of integrity of the Mainstream Media. He cannot do it through religion, personality, or values. Therefore a plan for the next four years is the obvious choice for campaign material. How does he propose navigating the coronavirus crisis? Riots? Big Tech censorship? The Media? Healthcare?
Pointing to his achievements over the last four years (which voters have largely forgotten), and promising to maintain that same political course would be an improvement. That must be the campaign message, 24/7, as Creepy Joe isn’t funny or creepy – and therefore a change in the campaign is needed. Perhaps the GOP convention would be a good place to start?