A top Republican pollster recently suggested that President Donald Trump needs to focus more on former Vice President Joe Biden’s numerous flaws if he wishes to win re-election in November. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, increased racial tensions, and economic woes, the president is on precarious footing.
However, the race is far from over, and there are signs that the president’s chances for victory might just rebound. Ed Goeas, the president of the Tarrance Group, spoke to a conference hosted by the Ripon Society in which he argued that Trump would need to push Biden’s “negatives” up to secure he re-election. “For them to have any hope of winning this election, they are going to have to drive Joe Biden’s negatives up also over 50%,” he explained.
The pollster added, “the Trump base is so strong in support of the president that it’s going to be fairly easy for them to do so.”
Goeas went on to explain that Trump is in a similar situation as he was in 2016. His approval rating is not high enough to ensure a win on its own, so he must start being more aggressive in highlighting Biden’s flaws to increase the Democratic candidate’s disapproval ratings.
“The reason why that is important is that, in this election, I think what we’re going to find is the same 19% to 24% of the electorate who are unfavorable towards both candidates. For the second time in a row, I believe the true swing vote in this campaign is going to be that group of voters that dislike both candidates,” he said.
The pollster also indicated that Trump should go back to talking about the issues that Americans actually care about, such as the economy and employment. He said:
“I truly believe we are at rock bottom right now in the presidential race for Donald Trump. The advantage he usually has is when he is talking about the issues, particularly talking about the economy or taxes or jobs. His numbers go up because he gets a majority support in the country for those issues. I think, unfortunately, both the combination of the coronavirus months that we have gone through and the social and racial unrest that we have gone through, what people are hearing from him is not his policies, but they’re hearing and seeing his persona. So, it is the worst of all worlds for Trump.”
There is merit to Goeas’ assertion. President Trump’s numbers are not faring well during the various problems facing the country at present. It seems that he is in the same scenario as he was in 2016. Four years ago, he managed to pull off a victory by doing what he does best: Going on the attack.
Trump mercilessly savaged Clinton every chance he got, continually bringing up her record of corruption and incompetence. He laid into “Crooked Hillary” on the regular, making it almost impossible for Americans to see her as a woefully-flawed candidate. But it does not seem that Trump has this same energy when it comes to Biden.
Anyone can see that the former vice president is just as flawed a candidate as Clinton was. It’s why his campaign team is locking him in a basement and refusing to let him out without controlling his appearances. But Trump seems to be more preoccupied with threatening schools that refuse to reopen than on his opponent.
Trump’s campaign team has pointed out that it has been difficult to hit Biden while he is in hiding. However, he can’t stay locked in his basement forever. Even now, it would be a good idea for the president to use his considerable persuasion skills to draw attention to the fact that Biden’s team is afraid to let him speak on his own. He could excoriate the former vice president for his cowardice, and use it to sow even more doubts about his mental acuity.
Moreover, emphasizing Trump’s handling of the economy and unemployment would still be helpful given the fact that polls have shown that the American public trusts Trump with the economy more than they trust Biden. These are the issues that people want to hear about, and they are issues on which Trump wins. Why shouldn’t Trump play to his greatest strengths?
As November approaches, it will become more important for Trump to cast as much doubt about Biden as possible. When the Democratic candidate is finally forced to come out of hiding, he will undoubtedly give Trump more ammo each time he opens his mouth.
If Trump wants to win, he needs to sell his strong points while maintaining a consistent line of attack against Biden. He can’t afford to let up; the Democrats have mobilized and will do anything possible to ensure their candidate makes it to the Oval Office. Put simply, Trump needs to continue to expand his base, but he also needs to convince enough Americans that Biden isn’t worth supporting. Otherwise, he may be handing over the presidency in January.
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