“Many Republican consultants are frustrated because we want the president’s campaign to be laser-focused on the economy,” said David Kochel, a Republican strategist in Iowa. “Their best message is: Trump built a great economy” and Covid-19 damaged it, and Mr. Trump is a better option than Mr. Biden to restore it, he said.
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“Our base loves the things about Hunter Biden, laptops and Mayor Giuliani,” Mr. Kochel. “But they are already voting for Trump.”
Before Mr Trump’s disrupted victory in 2016, his campaign also mixed the public with private concern about the apparent likelihood of defeat. But then, unlike now, Mr.
Mr. Stepien and other campaign leaders, including Jason Miller, a senior strategist, have stressed to Republicans in Washington that they expect to surpass public voting. They say their own data suggests a closer run in a number of states, including Arizona and Pennsylvania, than surveys conducted by news organizations. They are betting that voter registration and turnout machines that Trump’s team has built over the past four years will ultimately give them an advantage in narrowly divided states on election day.
Yet some prominent Republicans in recent direct language have noted the possibility – and even the likelihood – of defeat for the president. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close ally, said this week that Democrats had “a good chance of winning the White House,” while Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska said his party may face a “bloodbath.” .
Although fears of retaliation from Mr Trump have plagued most members of the party, strategists are deeply concerned that Mr Trump may spend the last weeks of the campaign entertaining and energizing his existing supporters while avoiding any concerted effort to find new ones – an approach it could paralyze other Republicans who ran for office.
Ken Spain, a Republican strategist, said Mr Trump did not “deliver a consistent message at the campaign’s most critical time.”