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Trump reelection machine: nothing like 2016

Donald Trump at a rally

President Donald Trump speaks at a recent rally in Pennsylvania. Trump's reelection campaign is armed with resources he could only dream of in 2016. | Drew Angerer / Getty Images

2020 elections

The president's campaign in 2020 upset the scenario of his hairy approach the first time Trump sought to be elected.


President Donald Trump sits on a $ 40 million war chest, field boots spread across nine critical regions for his 2020 map, and an extensive network of volunteers who have been rigorously trained for the coming months.

When he steps on the scene Tuesday in Orlando to announce his candidacy for the reelection, Trump will be joined by 20 000 guests whose personal information – names, postal codes, telephone numbers – were meticulously recorded at the time of the request of tickets for the rally. New entrants will receive emails and texts relentlessly in the coming weeks, reminding them that they can help "keep America alive" by contributing $ 5, $ 10 or $ 15. Some of the generous donors who generously contributed to his 2016 campaign will travel to Florida to see what they have delivered and decide if they will give again.

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It's a simple strategy to put the president four years more in the White House: the heavy weight of the Trump policy that was missing in 2016.

While 23 Democratic presidential candidates jostle for attention, Trump's campaign in 2020 quietly reverses the scenario of his frantic approach to his first candidacy for elected office. His team spent two and a half years implementing a robust, modern and professional operation to optimize as many variables as possible, and to accumulate an unprecedented pile of cash to keep it afloat.

It has worked so far. The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee totaled US $ 82 million at the bank in April – the result of a joint fundraising operation – and staff have not yet evolved into the internal struggles that have put a strain on the president's first campaign and tainted his early days in the White House.

"In 2016, people in the countryside like to say that they were building the plane while it was in flight. This time, he will lead a campaign worthy of an outgoing president of the United States, "said Tim Murtaugh, communications director of Trump's new enhanced campaign.

Indeed, a senior official involved in Trump's first presidential campaign likened the experience to a slow-moving aircraft crash: "We were tied to an ill-equipped machine that was gradually becoming uncontrollable."

Even with a better funded and orderly campaign, the developing landscape of 2020 has been difficult for Trump. State investigators are still investigating his businesses and his financial history. The decisions of the court have provoked devastating setbacks for its agenda. And Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi encouraged congressional Democrats to do everything in their power to hold her administration accountable.

In addition to all this, the blast – prone president has struggled to improve his approval rate, where he stands at 42%, and could have a hard time pretending to be a stranger while he 's out there. it occupies the center of the marsh.

"He's a titular, it's hard to do the same thing in 2020 as in 2016," said a close friend of the Trump campaign.

The challenges are not lost for the president's campaign staff. This time, Trump will launch its 2020 campaign with organizational and financial benefits that his previous crew could only dream of – soothing allies who fear that the current political climate is less conducive to victory.

A modest follow-up, Trump's small campaign team of more than 50 employees spent the last few months preparing for a 2020 race that diverges from 2016 without giving up its insurgent populist message. The Republican National Committee provided considerable support by providing institutional expertise and resources that were remarkably absent in 2016, motivated by considerable staff, an existing presence in the 50 states and a strong Trump ally at its helm.

RNC Head Office officials at Capitol Hill are in constant contact with their counterparts at the Trump campaign office in Arlington, Virginia. Camp staff members often travel to the same events to show their support for the party and Trump. For example, Brad Parscale, Trump's campaign director, and RNC President Ronna McDaniel, both attended a dinner hosted this week by the Macomb County Republican Party in Michigan, the so-called "home of Reagan Democrats "and a must win for Trump. 2020.

"If you look at where the campaign was in 2016 and today, it's a completely different organization. He has a United Republican Party behind him that also has one of the best fundraising operations we've ever seen, "said a Michigan Republican Party official, adding that the Trump campaign was planning to deploy important in Michigan from early July.

One campaign official said Parscale was planning to introduce "a fully operational ground game by the end of the summer," as well as several coalition groups that would specifically target female voters (Latino, Afro and Latino women). -américaines).

Many of these campaign staff, as well as members of GOP affiliates in political parties, have followed a program called GROW, or Growing Republican Organizations to Win. The customized workshop classes were created by the Trump Campaign and the RNC to train field staff in fundraising, communications, data and digital that will be unique to their states in 2020. State Party that recently completed the training asked to write false press releases and budgets as part of the programming.

Campaigners readily admit that Trump determines the message on a given day, making it difficult to create a fixed communication strategy that volunteers and staff can follow. Earlier this year, for example, Jared Kushner, White House advisor and White House advisor, asked campaign staff to avoid targeting some 2020 Democratic nominees, but only to watch President lober repeatedly the insults inflicted on former Vice President Joe Biden. (Trump also insulted Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, former representative Beto O'Rourke, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of South Bend, Ind.)

"The key to the Trump campaign is to successfully build its operation around the most unconventional candidate in history," said Jason Miller, a former campaign advisor who stays close to the president. "Parscale has a pretty good relationship with Trump to know that you are always following his example and that your job is to develop and amplify his message, not to forcibly feed him with a message that you have concocted."

Parscale refused to convince Trump to sound sound bugs, preferring to let the president arm Twitter at his discretion. But the campaign has begun to develop candidate-specific messages that they hope Trump will test and eventually deploy on a regular basis, depending on who will become the Democratic candidate. Officials have largely focused on Biden, Sanders and Warren, believing that Trump's ultimate opponent will emerge from this trio.

"If it's Sanders or Warren, they immediately become the advocates of radical change, a step too far for most voters, and Trump becomes the centrist. But against Joe Biden, the race is much more a dynamic of change compared to the status quo, "said Miller.

Campaign allies who are aware of internal polls say that they also want Trump to constantly boast about his achievements. He will outperform his Democratic opponent only if he "gets the appropriate amount for progress made in immigration, economy and national security," suggested an outside advisor. Several Democrats in 2020 have argued that the economy is booming because of the policies put in place by former President Barack Obama, although Trump's economic approval rating reaches a new high in a poll by CNN last month.

Trump's campaign informed him almost every week of the poll, according to two collaborators familiar with the conversations, one of whom said the president was more obsessed with polls than anything else, although they questioned their reliability after 2016.

The campaign's first internal re-election poll found Biden beat Trump by seven points in Florida when he polled Sunshine State voters in March, the CBA reported on Friday. The state is key to Trump's campaign strategy: otherwise, a single loss in the Rust Belt could spell the end of his presidency.

Campaigners said this would not happen. They say the fundraising has been too successful and that their massive data collection operation is unrivaled for any candidate for the Democratic presidency.

But as Trump prepares to run for re-election 17 months before voters go to the polls, perhaps their most obvious benefit is time.

"It's important to remember that we are not following the same timetable as the Democrats," said Murtaugh. "We are already in the general election."

Alex Isenstadt contributed to this story.

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