Poll after poll has shown President Donald Trump trailing former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee — and some of them show Trump losing by double digits. Trump’s response to these polls is not to broaden his appeal, but to double down on his rally-the-base strategy.
Associated Press reporters Aamer Madhani and Jonathan Lemire, in an article published on June 26, outline some of the ways in which Trump is trying to fire up his hardcore MAGA base.
“President Donald Trump is sharpening his focus on his most ardent base of supporters as concern grows inside his campaign that his standing in the battleground states that will decide the 2020 election is slipping,” Madhani and Lemire explain. “Trump turned his attention this week to ‘left wing mobs’ toppling Confederate monuments and visited the nation’s southern border to spotlight progress on his 2016 campaign promise to build a U.S./Mexico border wall.”
In addition to the things Madhani and Lemire mention, Trump is doubling down on his vendetta against the Affordable Care Act of 2010, a.k.a. Obamacare. On June 25, the Trump Administration filed a brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the ACA — and he is trying to throw millions of Americans off of health care during a pandemic that, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, has killed more than 124,400 people in the U.S. The anti-Obamacare brief was clearly a rally-the-base move, and Democrats are likely to use it against him in attack ads aimed at swing voters.
Trump’s reasoning, obviously, is that if he fires up his MAGA base enough and there is a weak turnout among the Democratic base on Election Day, he might pull off a narrow victory in November.
GOP strategist Dan Schnur, who served as an adviser to former California Gov. Pete Wilson and the late Sen. John McCain, told AP that a rally-the-base strategy might be the Trump campaign’s “only” hope.
“This might be the only path for him at this point,” Schnur asserted. “Most of the center is no longer available to him. Motivating his base is not just his best available strategy — it might be the only one.”
According to Madhani and Lemire, “Trump’s team feels confident that approximately 40% of the electorate supports him and notes his approval rating has remained unusually stable during his term. The president’s campaign advisers believe it comes down to getting a bigger proportion of the smaller group of people who love Trump to turn out than the larger group of voters who express tepid support for Biden.”
Many of the polls released in late June have been encouraging for Biden’s campaign. A New York Times/Siena College poll found Trump trailing Biden by 14% nationally and by 11% in Michigan and Wisconsin, 10% in Pennsylvania, 6% in Florida, 9% in North Carolina and 7% in Arizona. And Fox News polling found Biden leading Trump by 9% in Florida, 2% in Georgia and North Carolina and 1% in Texas.