This post appears here courtesy of the John Locke Foundation
. The author of this post is Mitch Kokai
of the Washington Examiner reports
on President Trump's electoral focus on COVID-19.
- President Trump is gambling his reelection on "normal," holding indoor campaign rallies and airing television ads that cast the coronavirus as fading — a message some Republicans worry could backfire amid a pandemic that continues to cost lives.
- Trump rallied with thousands of supporters Sunday inside a Las Vegas-area manufacturing plant. Even outdoors, the Trump campaign has begun pre-pandemic political revivals, with tightly packed crowds that often eschew protective face masks, coinciding with the launch of a glossy new television advertisement that treats the coronavirus as a vanishing phenomenon. "In the race for a vaccine, the finish line is approaching," the spot proclaims. "President Trump's great American comeback is now underway."
- But the coronavirus remains a deadly threat, and there is no guarantee of a viable vaccine or that there will not be another surge in COVID-19 infections. Nor is recovery from a deep, pandemic-induced recession assured to proceed smoothly. And that is what concerns many Republican strategists less than 50 days until Election Day.
- "He's doubling down on base messaging when he really needs to focus on soft partisans and independents so that he can break past 45%," said John Couvillon, a Republican pollster in Louisiana. Jim Dornan, a veteran Republican strategist in Washington, added that "continuing to downplay the virus when it could very well come back is a huge risk."
- The Trump campaign is dismissive.
- "People want to hear from their president, and as the economic recovery increases, people are eager to get engaged in the president's re-election," said Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh in a statement.
- The rallies energize Trump, who feeds off the crowd. The raucous, concert-style gatherings also function as a key component of the president's strategy to defeat Democratic nominee Joe Biden.