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Trump’s Campaign Shakeup Focuses on Election Day

As Trump’s campaign undergoes some much-needed updates, how will this change his 2020 hopes?

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With the November election only a few months away, the candidates for president are hard at work campaigning. Over the last few months, the Trump campaign has seen disappointing results in some key battleground states that it won in 2016. While Trump has never been a friend of the polls, his current performance in swing states like Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio are red flags for an uphill battle in November. His opponent Joe Biden currently has a lead in the first three states, all of which Trump won in 2016. The president is polling even with Biden in Ohio, a state that went aggressively pro-Trump by 8% in 2016.
Polls are glimpses into the future, and the Trump campaign has held a shakeup to try to change its fortunes. This included demoting Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign manager, and promoting Bill Stepien as his replacement.
Bill Stepien and Brad Parscale are thought to represent two different sides of a coin. As Trump’s campaign manager, Parscale took a more proactive approach to the campaign. He was unafraid of being shown in the limelight while pushing for Trump’s dominant online presence, especially on social media. Bill Stepien is seen as a data-driven analyst, first gaining recognition as former Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie’s successful campaign manager in 2009.
Stepien has a more hands-off approach, staying out of the public eye, unlike some of Trump’s former campaign managers like Corey Lewandowski, Kellyanne Conway, and, of course, Brad Parscale. Stepien’s promotion comes from the Trump campaign’s recognition that performance in the polls needs to improve if they hope for re-election. Polls are almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy; they can encourage people to go out and vote. On the other hand, too much success in the polls can make voters believe their votes aren’t needed. One worry the Trump campaign may face is whether Stepien can keep up with Parscale’s fundraising efforts. As campaign manager, Parscale guided the campaign to raise $266 million in the most recent quarter, with $131 million raised in June alone.

Up until this spring, Trump’s re-election message revolved around the booming economy, lack of foreign military intervention, and his strongman stance against China. The COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench in these plans, removing the economic gains Trump has presided over, which, according to history, is an essential aspect in ensuring a president’s re-election. Fortunately for the Trump campaign, they have been able to shift the political debate to new topics involving patriotism and law and order. It remains to be seen if this new battleground will bring Trump back to his roots as the politician willing to say what others will not.
Since the death of George Floyd, mass protests and riots have swept America. Protests are still going on in Portland to this day, and cities like Minneapolis, New York City, and Seattle have all proposed legislation to defund the police, the rallying cry of Black Lives Matter protesters for the last few months. President Trump, always seeking to keep up his reputation as the law and order candidate, has spoken against these demonstrations since their inception.
With the Democrat candidate for president, Joe Biden, willing to show support for the protests, the two candidates’ opposing views will be in sharp contrast leading up to the election.

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Jose Backer, General Assignment Reporter, is a graduate of St. Michael's College and is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Political Science. Born and raised in Southern California, he currently resides in the Pasadena area.

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