The Republican National Convention and its many speakers have made President Trump’s re-election strategy crystal clear: Chip away at the weak spots in the Democratic coalition. Given that he has a solid base of voter support that seems to hover in the 45-50% range, regardless of circumstances, he need only peel away enough voters in key states to push him over the top to a second term, which is very possible.
He has a few obvious opportunities that would allow him to pull off another Presidential victory and stun the pundits and pollsters.
Continuing Democratic support for lockdowns and shutdowns to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus is crashing headlong into the frustrations of many Americans with both the psychological and economic costs involved. Given that the “experts” were wrong and millions of Americans have not died—but hundreds of millions have been made miserable by bureaucratic safety decrees—there is a real hunger for an easing of restrictions that have closed businesses, killed jobs, derailed educations, increased domestic violence, driven drug use, and put many at the point of considering suicide.
There is a moment at which protection becomes imprisonment, and every day we see examples of Americans who are sick of being pushed around by politicians desperate to display their “heroism” before Election Day. Support for the most intrusive and destructive measures to curb the spread of a virus that some project will be with us forever no matter what we do is wilting under the acid anger of those who are on the verge of losing their homes and businesses. The suburban female component of the Democratic coalition, which is believed to be a solid bloc of blue votes, might actually contain many more raging red Mama Grizzlies who are worried about a roof over their heads, food on the table, and children who need to be back in school.
Day 1 of the Republican Convention also featured a number of African-American speakers because Donald Trump is sharp enough to realize that, the claims of CNN notwithstanding, many black Americans are disgusted with the rioting, looting, and arson that is supposedly being committed to protect them from racism and racists.
The worse-hit cities have been under Democratic control for decades, so there plenty of blame to go around for a political party that has long taken the the votes of African-Americans for granted. Sadly, many urban centers have been crushed by Democratic leadership and policies that have accomplished little other than promote multigenerational death and despair for many black Americans, and President Trump and his surrogates are not shy about pointing out this fact. If even a small percentage of this key Democratic constituency decides to stay home on Election Day—or actually votes Republican—it will be a disaster for both Joe Biden and the rest of the Democratic ticket.
There is also the problem of trying to swing left to placate the Bernie Sanders/AOC wing of the party—which is vociferously supporting The Green New Deal, defunding the police, and eliminating private insurance plans in favor of a government monopoly on healthcare—while somehow convincing moderate voters that they can be trusted to not turn to overtly Socialist/Marxist policy solutions.
How this can be done without prompting food fights on Twitter and MSNBC is anyone’s guess. Someday soon Joe Biden is going to face questions that cannot satisfactorily be answered with platitudes, and trying to find some mythical middle ground that will please the full spectrum of his fragile coalition could backfire spectacularly, which would put him in a gravely weakened position as he desperately tries to run out the clock until November 3rd. There is no doubt that President Trump will use their debates to ruthlessly needle Mr. Biden into making some gaffe-tastic pronouncements that can be used to undermine both his credibility and judgment.
Finally, there is the power of incumbency, which President Trump flaunted throughout the virtual Republican National Convention to a degree never seen before. Giving your Acceptance Speech from The White House might strike some as crass, but the fact of the matter is that Mr. Trump has an incredible array of powers and tools that he can use to eclipse his opponents on a daily basis while winning favor with the voters he understands are critical to his re-election.
It’s going to be a street fight, so expect the worst between now and Election Day.