Opinion: Trump Campaign Must Make Last Efforts to Retain its Base

Updated: Oct 18, 2021

It is without a doubt that after President Trump’s missed opportunity to redeem himself for his shortcomings at the disastrous first presidential debate, he must begin to win back voters to secure a victory in the approaching election.

Trump supporters rapidly declining in quantity

2020 was a test for the Trump administration, and voters are showing dissatisfaction. With the coronavirus, the unstoppable rioting in several cities, and the multitude of scandals and revelations regarding President Trump, his family, and his administration, many unconventional endorsers have expressed support for Vice President Biden’s campaign or at least a lack thereof for Trump’s re-election; this includes those that are opposed to much of Biden’s agenda.

Already, a multitude of non–moderate-Democrat politicians have disregarded their ideological differences with Biden and pledged support to him, including Republicans such as Governor John Kasich and Secretary Collin Powell, as well as left-wing politicians such as Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Similarly, entire coalitions of non–moderate-Democrat voters are forming to defeat Trump; two notable such coalitions are the Lincoln Project — an organization of Republicans fiercely opposed to Trump, led by Mike Madrid and George Conway, husband to former Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway— and Settle for Biden — a social media coalition pushing voters who supported more radical liberal views to vote for Biden. As shown in Thursday’s ABC News “The Vice President and the People” town hall with Joe Biden, many lifelong Republicans who never voted for Trump have decided to vote Blue this November even though they challenge Biden’s increasingly liberal views.

Even celebrities and public figures who were almost never political in the public view are taking to the internet to express their support of Biden and emphasize the importance of doing away with Trump. In the past month alone, Biden received endorsements from actor Dwane “The Rock” Johnson as well as popular singer Taylor Swift. In comparison, almost no acclaimed non-political public figures have endorsed Trump.

Therefore, while Biden continues to focus on uniting a large base and even appealing to former Trump voters, Trump must do everything in his power to retain his own base without further losses.

However, such a feat is most definitely easier said than done; the Democrats’ many campaigns (both those for the Presidency and seats in Congress) have so far raised tremendous sums of funds from grassroots donors, scaring Republicans. Moreover, polls show Biden leading in almost every swing state in the country, arguably due to Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Trump’s alleged hypocrisy with respect to the virus—both due to his COVID diagnosis and the infamous Bob Woodward tapes—has also caused many Trump supporters to reconsider their votes, a circumstance the Biden campaign has been unapologetic in taking advantage of.

Vice-presidential debate beneficial to Trump

The first presidential debate left voters mortified as to whether either candidate was appropriate. The vice-presidential debate, however, gave Americans a pleasant surprise, as it turned out to be an event of civility and conversation rather than one of attacks and interruptions like the first presidential debate. Although Kamala Harris remained a formidable opponent for the Trump campaign — with her impressive history of prosecution and her notoriousness amongst Senate Republicans for being one of the toughest questionnaires during hearings — Mike Pence most definitely was instrumental in at least slightly turning the tables for the Trump campaign.

Even on issues of race — those that Kamala Harris was far more passionate and experienced about — Pence was able to advertise the Trump administration’s involvement in the success of Black Americans as well as condemn the violence caused by Antifa radicals and protest-turned-riots in America’s cities.

Moreover, Pence slammed liberals on their alleged plans to “pack” the Supreme Court considering the non-liberal majority that currently occupies it. Like Biden in the previous debate, Harris was unable to respond to the accusations, exposing a wound that the Trump campaign is not hesitant to highlight.

All being said, Mike Pence would most definitely be instrumental in securing a potential Trump victory, especially considering his familiar face to conservatives across the country. On the contrary, Trump still remains a newcomer, which is why Pence’s familiarity was a key reason that the Trump campaign selected him as their vice presidential nominee.

Town Hall Showed Last Efforts for Trump to hold onto what he has Remaining

The simultaneous ABC and NBC town halls held by Vice President Biden and President Trump on Thursday caused much anticipation , and for good reason. Considering Trump’s poor performance in the polls and his notoriously overly aggressive debating style, the town hall was a perfect opportunity for the Trump campaign to somewhat redeem itself, since the format was different from the first debate. Instead, the town hall featured Trump appearing to genuinely make attempts to answer the queries and concerns of the American people.

Trump was able to maintain a (relatively) calm mood despite his prior common lashes at the media and those who were opposed to him. He was even able to provide relatively straight answers when talking to moderator Savannah Guthrie regarding matters of contention for him — including those pertaining to the conspiracy theorist QANON; whether he had, in fact, condemned White supremacy; and when his last negative COVID test was.

Trump’s latest interactions with the media and the American people demonstrate his realization of the severity of his political circumstances. With Biden leading in the polls in every swing state with the exception of Republican-leaning Ohio and Iowa, only time will tell whether Trump will be able to secure the votes of enough Americans to retain his presidency.

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