According to a report from the New York Times, Donald Trump's team believes the divisive language used by the president during his two July 4th weekend speeches is the key to his re-election despite polling that shows his harsh rhetoric is likely turning off voters he needs in November.
The report, by Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni, characterized Trump's language on Friday at Mt. Rushmore as "apocalyptic" and that is the tone some members of Trump's team think will be a winner since he can no longer run on the economy which has been crippled by the coronavirus pandemic.
As the two wrote, the president, "signaled even more clearly that he would exploit race and cultural flash points to stoke fear among his base of white supporters in an effort to win re-election. As he has done in the past, he resorted on Friday to exaggerated, apocalyptic language in broadly tarring the nationwide protests against entrenched racism and police brutality, saying that 'angry mobs' sought to 'unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities' and that those seeking to deface monuments want to 'end America.'"
According to the report, Trump adviser Stephen Miller is likely behind the speeches and that "Campaign officials said Saturday that they thought the speeches struck the right note for the moment."
Adding that, "Central to Mr. Trump’s approach, however, is a belief he and some of his advisers share that voters are misleading pollsters about their support for the nationwide protests, several allies said," the Times reporters note that the White House view is at odds with public sentiment.
"Campaign officials have repeatedly said they expect a backlash against the progressive 'cancel culture' movement to help the president’s standing with white suburban female voters, who they believe to be frightened by images of chaos in the city streets," the report states. "But that backlash has yet to reveal itself in polls: A recent New York Times/Siena College survey showed that 75 percent of moderates and even 53 percent of somewhat conservative voters have a favorable opinion of Black Lives Matter."
According to GOP pollster Christine Matthews, the latest campaign strategy appears to be a failure.
“Trump needs — or thinks he needs — fear of ‘the other’ to motivate his base and create enthusiasm,” she explained. “Right now, people are fearful of Covid-19, but that is inconvenient for Trump, so he is trying to kick up fear about something he thinks will benefit his re-election: angry mobs of leftists tearing down American history."
Matthews added that Trump's rhetoric appeals to his most ardent fans but shows no signs of expanding his base.
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