In a written report for CNN, White House Correspondent John Harwood said Donald Trump has a monumental task ahead of him convincing undecideds to vote for him in November now that he is putting out fires from two separate scandals that have disrupted his re-election campaign over the past few weeks.
Following a report from The Atlantic that the president smeared U.S military members as "losers and suckers," only to have Watergate reporter Bob Woodward provide an audiotape of the president admitting that he lied to the American public about the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, Harwood claimed the Trump campaign is too tied up with damage control when they should be consolidating support.
Writing, "Outsized attention to Trump's base, most conspicuously the maskless true-believers who pack his rallies despite the coronavirus pandemic, obscures the reality that they number too few to give him a second term. Though Trump eked out an electoral victory four years ago with 46.1% of the popular vote, he cannot repeat that feat with 43%," Harwood added voting is already going on at a time when the president is still floundering.
And that doesn't even take into account the so-called "undecideds," of which there might not be enough to change his fortunes.
"That's expected in a race between rivals as familiar as the incumbent and a former vice president. In CNN's national poll after both major-party conventions, 13% of registered voters said they hadn't chosen a candidate or could still change their mind. At the same point in 2016, that share of persuadable voters stood at 19%," he explained.
Additionally, Trump was helped in 2016 by prominent third-party candidates, with Harwood explaining, "In summer 2016, Libertarian standard-bearer Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein drew roughly 10% in combined support before fading to half that level by Election Day. Trump's tumultuous presidency has diminished the market for experimentation, leaving comparatively-obscure third-party choices with smaller followings this year. NBC News/Wall Street Journal pollsters have found that third-party voters from 2016 now lean toward Biden."
Harwood went to explain that Trump's attacks on Biden as mentally unfit seems to have gone nowhere with a Fox News poll on Sunday showing voters have more concerns about the president's "mental soundness."
"Trump seeks to reclaim lost white support with increasingly-raw appeals to racism, warning a Biden victory would 'demolish the suburbs' through higher crime, expanded low-income housing, and untamed protests by the likes of Antifa and Black Lives Matter. But it's unclear that voters even mildly drawn to Biden's more unifying message will find that plausible or appealing," Harwood suggested, "The burden of proof Trump faces underscores his recent lost opportunity. As Trump fended off media bombshells, he didn't lose national support but didn't gain any, either. And with early voting already underway in some places, the calendar kept moving."
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