“Many Republican advisers are disappointed because we want the president’s campaign to be laser-focused on the economy,” said David Koshel, a Republican strategist in Iowa. “Their best message is, ‘Trump has built a great economy,’ and Covid-19 has damaged it, and Mr Trump is a better option than Mr Biden to restore it,” he said.
In line with the 2020 Elections
“Our base loves things about Hunter Biden, laptops and Mayor Giuliani,” Mr Koshel added. “But they are already voting for Trump.”
Prior to Mr Trump’s upset victory in 2016, his campaign also mixed public praise with private concern about the apparent likelihood of defeat. But then, unlike now, Mr Trump ended the race with a team hammer message that attacked Hillary Clinton as a corrupt insider and promised broad economic change – an argument far clearer than what she offers today.
Mr Stepien and other campaign leaders, including Jason Miller, a senior strategist, told Republicans in Washington that they expected to surpass public opinion polls. They say their own data suggests a closer race in a number of states, including Arizona and Pennsylvania, than surveys conducted by news organizations. They bet that voter registration and the election equipment built by Mr. Trump’s team over the past four years will ultimately give them an advantage in tightly divided states on election day.
Yet some prominent Republicans are noting in a new language the possibility – and even the possibility – of being defeated by the president. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a close ally, said this week that Democrats had a “good chance of winning the White House,” while Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska said his party could face a “bloodbath.”
Although Mr Trump’s fear of retaliation has plagued most party members, strategists are deeply concerned that Mr Trump could spend the last weeks of the campaign entertaining and energizing his existing supporters while giving up any concerted efforts to find new ones – an approach that could cripple other Republicans running.
Ken Spain, a Republican strategist, said Mr Trump “did not deliver a consistent message at the most critical moment of the campaign”.