Donald Trump, the Populist Outsider
Author: Greg Valliere
August 28, 2020
DESPITE BEING PRESIDENT for three and a half years, Donald Trump portrayed himself as a populist outsider last night, fighting against the establishment and describing how terrible things are in American cities. Neat trick — he’s the president!!
WE HAVE LONG ARGUED that you underestimate Trump at your own peril. He goes after opponents mercilessly and is a very clever political strategist and marketer. The idea that he could sound like a populist outsider last night was astonishing.
TRUMP BASHED DRUG COMPANIES, boasted that troops are coming home, said he’d fight for good jobs, and ripped into China. Bernie Sanders could have said the same things.
BUT WHAT TRUMP DID NOT DO was offer a clear vision of his agenda for the next four years. As we wrote yesterday, that’s crucial, but Trump was vague — build more of the wall, land a woman on the moon, produce more energy, and of course cut taxes further.
SO — WILL HE GET A BOUNCE? Probably, maybe two or three points, as some viewers agree that U.S. streets aren’t safe. We thought last week that the Democrats had to address urban violence, not just police misconduct, but they didn’t and that was a mistake.
OUR GUESS IS THAT POLLS THIS WEEKEND will show Biden with a lead of 5 or 6 points — but his bigger concern is that the race has narrowed in key battleground states.
THE THREE DOMINANT ISSUES ARE CLEAR —
1. Continued urban unrest, an issue Trump and his aides will exploit ruthlessly.
2. The state of the economy, which may falter if there’s no stimulus bill (talks between Nancy Pelosi and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows failed yesterday).
3. And perhaps most importantly, how the public views Trump’s handling of the virus. He thinks he has done a tremendous job but statistics don’t lie — the U.S. has about 4.3% of the world’s population, and about 23% of the fatalities.
BIDEN NEEDS TO KICK INTO ANOTHER GEAR, ASAP: The Democrats were cocky in July, talking about an electoral landslide. Now they may see a race that’s nearly tied by the first debate, on Sept. 29. Trump has a huge war chest and is the populist outsider, a good place to be as the real campaign now begins.
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