Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Trump's Campaign Says Election Is His to Lose

A great piece, at McClatchy, "Trump’s well-oiled campaign has everything planned — except Trump":

President Donald Trump fiddled for months with a 2020 election message that would be ready for primetime. His top two campaign aides — Jared Kushner and Brad Parscale — sought a message that would resonate with the president’s core political base and also reach skeptical independents.

Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and most trusted adviser devising the campaign’s strategy, and Parscale, his campaign manager, turned to Larry Weitzner, a top political advertising consultant behind many of Trump’s 2016 ads.

Weitzner produced a spot with a new slogan: “He’s no Mr. Nice Guy.”

Trump loved it. He called Parscale and told him to air it during the World Series.

One year away from a referendum on his presidency, Trump and his campaign are embracing elements of his political identity that have sharply divided the nation. The same instinctive, mercurial president remains at the helm. But this time he sits atop a campaign infrastructure fueled by an unprecedented war chest, a sophisticated digital operation and a disciplined staff.

“We’re going to be attacked. We don’t care. But we’re not going to be nice about it,” said Katrina Pierson, a senior advisor to Trump’s reelection campaign, about the slogan her bosses loved so much.

But Trump’s senior aides have a slogan of their own that reminds them of their task: Only Trump can beat Trump. The race, in their minds, is his to lose.

Trump’s allies worry those same political instincts that won him the presidency also led to the impeachment inquiry — a strategy to collect opposition research on a political opponent gone too far, involving foreign powers, that might have circumvented the official campaign.

Some aides fear that Trump’s effort to compel Ukraine, and possibly China, to investigate and release information on former Vice President Joe Biden and his family is just one example of his unpredictability.

Indeed, it is the first time in modern political history that a president has been subject to an impeachment inquiry during his first term.

“On issue after issue the president has accomplished the things that he ran on despite the most devastating headwinds that any president has ever faced with a Democrat Party doing everything they can to nullify the election of 2016 since day one,” said Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, who participates in daily calls with Kushner and Parscale on strategy.

Matt Schlapp, American Conservative Union chairman and a White House ally, said the president is favored to win — if he can stay focused on his agenda and good news on the economy while fighting the impeachment inquiry.

“Are you asking me if I wish the president would stay on message? My answer would be one word: Yes,” he said...