Donald Trump’s campaign is failing. A cursory look at even the most pro-Trump polls will show that, with the average spread over double digits now. We are nowhere near, at least at this moment in time, the 2016 breakpoint where Trump beat the national polling by 1.5 points and won the electoral college. Right now, we are looking at a wipeout.
But forget about the poll numbers for a second, because I know the response of some will be that they aren’t real. Simply ask yourself this: What are you seeing from the Trump campaign that makes you think it’s being well run?
Enter Brad Parscale, who at least carries the title of campaign manager for the 2020 Trump campaign. You’d be forgiven for asking why he has that position given he’s never run a campaign before. In fact, his contribution in the past has come as a social media guru and web designer. While those are certainly good skills that every campaign needs, they are a far cry from actually running the day-to-day messaging strategy of a campaign.
Which brings me to my biggest complaint about Parscale. What’s the message? Joe Biden is bad? Yeah, he is, but he’s also a doddering old man who many Americans don’t feel threatened by. Trying to rely on painting Biden as a communist revolutionary is an awful strategy. The Trump campaign has continuously failed to capitalize on even the most obvious pressure points. Where are the non-stop ads against Biden for his coddling of China? Why is the campaign spending so much time and money on annoying fundraising pitches instead of actually, you know, campaigning?
Regardless, an incumbent has to make the case for why he should remain in office. When Trump was asked that question by Sean Hannity a week ago, he had no answer. That’s a failure of the campaign’s strategy. Trump should have a set of points that he’s hitting continuously. Instead, his campaign is mostly floating in the wind. One day, they may be focused on the jobs numbers. The next, they may be talking about legalizing DACA recipients before deciding that’s not what Trump meant. It’s enough to give someone whiplash and it does nothing to promote the case for a second term.
Further, the campaign and its partner organizations continue to allow stuff like this to go on without any push-back.
Damn all these fake Trump emails! pic.twitter.com/wIVwKpu99H
— Boomieleaks (@Boomieleaks) July 13, 2020
Don’t ever again send me a text that treats me like an idiot.
I am hearing from A LOT of supporters of the President that they are getting EXTREMELY insulted and angry at this garbage.
— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) July 10, 2020
Whether these are or aren’t the campaign is irrelevant. The campaign has to be proactive in stopping and calling this stuff out (again, assuming it’s not actually them). Instead, Parscale mostly ignores it. Further, messages from his 88022 number are basically the same, with continual proclamations about signed MAGA hats and a “5x” match like they are running a freaking casino.
Is this campaign about winning or filling coffers with just a few months to go? Money is not the problem and Trump would be raising money without all this nonsense. Where the money is being spent is the problem. Why are there rumors of a lagging ground game in swing states? Why is there no congruent ad strategy? Why is the President out there doing interviews without a set message across the organization? Some of that can be blamed on Trump’s free-wheeling style, but a lot of this is just a campaign that doesn’t even appear to be trying. They are good at selling cheap t-shirts and sending spam out, but haven’t shown an ability to do much else.
In 2016, Trump was faltering at about this same time. He cleaned house and brought in Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon. They tightened up the ship and focused the message. Most importantly, they won. Perhaps Trump feels a special loyalty to Parscale, but that’s not going to be much consolation if Biden goes on to win. The issues with the Trump campaign are real and the swoon we’ve seen is real. Even their internal polls are showing that now. This isn’t personal. It’s purely pragmatic at this point.
There has to be a change of direction in the immediate future or Trump should be prepared to lose.