Fri. Sep 17th, 2021

Election 2020: The 28 words that Donald Trump thinks can get him reelected

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(CNN)The most important speech of the recently-concluded Republican National Convention wasn’t the meandering and patchwork one delivered by President Donald Trump on Thursday night. It was the speech introducing the President by Ivanka Trump. And these 28 words in particular:

“I recognize that my dad’s communication style is not to everyone’s taste. And I know his tweets can feel a bit … unfiltered. But the results speak for themselves.”That, in three sentences, sums up the central argument to reelect this President: Donald Trump may not talk (or tweet) in ways that make you proud, but he does make things happen that are good for you and your family.

    Time and again over the four days of the conventions, speakers made this basic case — although none so succinctly as Ivanka Trump. (Note: One speaker who did not make the Trump-says-weird-and-at-times-offensive-stuff-but-gets-the-job-done argument was Donald Trump.) The Ivanka argument amounts to an attempt to give permission for voters to think that Trump is boorish and a bully — and still vote for him. Heck, if his own daughter can admit that his “communication style is not to everyone’s taste” and his “tweets can feel a bit … unfiltered,” then it’s okay for a fence-sitting voter to feel that same way! And to, maybe, put aside their personal distaste with the President and vote on what he’s done rather than who he is.Read MoreThis is a strategy born of necessity, of course. Trump is not likable. Or admirable. Or presidential. And, even if you look back at 2016 — remember that’s the election he won — very few voters thought he possessed any of those qualities.Just 33% of voters in that election said Trump was “honest and trustworthy,” according to exit polling. Thirty five percent said he had the right temperament to be president. Thirty eight percent said he was qualified to be president. And yet, Trump won roughly one in every five voters who said he wasn’t honest and trustworthy, didn’t think he had the right temperament for the job and believed him to lack the qualifications for the job he was seeking.How? Simple. A pluralrity of 2016 voters prized a candidate who could bring about “change;” among that group, Trump beat Hillary Clinton 82%-14%. Voters wanted change so badly they were willing to overlook their doubts about Trump’s character and readiness for office. They might not have liked Trump personally but he represented a shakeup of the status quo — and the latter mattered more to them than the former.


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    What Trump and his campaign are hoping is that in 2020 they can repeat that feat by simply subbing “results” in for “change.” (It’s very hard to run as a change agent when you are the incumbent President of the United States.)As evidence of those alleged results, Ivanka Trump touted her father’s work on trade, the economy, the Middle East, prison reform, prescription drug costs and dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. “If these problems were easy to solve, previous presidents would have done so,” she said near the end of her speech. “But you don’t achieve different results by doing things the same way. Washington has not changed Donald Trump. Donald Trump has changed Washington.”

      Now, whether swing voters — to the extent they still exist — buy what Ivanka Trump and her father’s campaign are selling remains a very open question. Polling suggests that especially on Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, there is significant dissatisfaction. And, at the moment, the coronavirus (and the government’s handling of it) is the only issue that really matters.But, if Trump can mount a comeback against former Vice President Joe Biden this fall, it will be on the strength of the message his daughter laid out Thursday night: He may be a jerk, but he’s a jerk who gets stuff done.


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