It looks like the Trump campaign is going to try out one of its key strategies from 2016 in an attempt to coax lightning into striking twice. It doesn’t look good for them.
Donald Trump has entered the final stretch of campaign rallies leading up to the November presidential election. The campaign also plans on sending Mike Pence to campaign specifically in Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin in the coming weeks. This echoes 2016. In the days and weeks leading to the 2016 election, the Trump campaign turned its sights on a few core swing states, including the ones Pence is now set to visit. To some extent this seems like a strategic decision on behalf of the Trump campaign, but it doesn’t go without a hefty dose of superstition.
In this case, lightning doesn’t look like it’ll strike twice. 2016 and 2020 are radically different landscapes for the nation as a whole, and this seems particularly true for some core swing states. Trump was a political outsider in 2016 with the benefit of having little political baggage — something attractive to a lot of disaffected swing voters. Now, Trump the posterchild for American regressivism, and swing voters have taken note.
In Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin in farmers have been stricken by Trump’s ham-fisted attempts to wrangle China, forcing crops to go unsold and forcing Trump to bail out a large contingent of farmers. Trump’s howler of a pandemic response has meant that, again, farmers haven’t been able to sell vast quantities of food, even while much of the world teeters on famine and starvation (https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/12/us/hunger-crisis-deaths-coronavirus-oxfam-trnd/index.html).
On top of this, Trump’s support faces more complications in swing districts. Candidates elected in the 2018 blue wave appear poised to be reelected, such as Representative Ilhan Omar, suggesting that the support that we saw in 2018 is alive and well. Additionally, Politico reported back in September 2019 that Milwaukee’s Republican suburbs are very put-off by Trump – something I suspect hasn’t since improved given Trump’s responses to the pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement. In short, Trump blowing on the dice and crossing his fingers isn’t enough. Using the same game plan as 2016 is shortsighted. I hope he doesn’t wise up.