Trump strategy: Hitting blue areas, courting minorities and unfriendly audiences

The Trump campaign is increasingly venturing into hostile territory.

The strategy, I’ve been told, is to demonstrate that the former president can make his case in Democratic areas and force the Biden campaign to play defense.

But it runs deeper than that.


By campaigning where he wouldn’t ordinarily be welcome, Donald Trump sends a message that he’s a fighter – particularly during the weeklong break from the hush money trial, which resumed yesterday with closing arguments. A conviction in that criminal trial, of course, could alter the playing field.

Exhibit A in Trump’s new playbook was the visit to the South Bronx, a preeminent symbol of urban decay. He didn’t go because he thinks he can win the Bronx, or New York City, or New York State. Trump went to send a message that he cares about minority voters.

He drew a couple of thousand supporters to a park where he mostly recited his greatest hits, including 10 minutes on how he rebuilt a Central Park ice skating rink decades ago, complete with the construction details. But he also said he would rebuild the city. Polls show Trump scoring better among blacks than any Republican nominee in more than a generation, while Joe Biden has been slipping among that crucial constituency for Democrats.

Going to the Bronx, where the Queens-born Trump attended two years of college, was a curveball. And since some liberals ripped the rich Republican for venturing onto their turf, the controversy drove the news cycle for days, a Trump specialty.

The former president also spoke to a massive rally along the shore in New Jersey, another state he’s not going to win, and went to blue-state Minnesota, which he’d carry only if the election is a blowout.

I don’t think the Biden camp is going to fall for these head fakes. The president has to concentrate on Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, where he trails by a few points in most polls, for an Electoral College victory. Scranton Joe has practically taken up residence in Pennsylvania, which is close to Delaware, and yet still trails slightly in most battleground polls. He and Kamala Harris are back in Philly today.

Perhaps the clearest sign of Trump’s unorthodox approach is his weekend speech to the Libertarian convention. This was widely portrayed as a disaster, since Trump was widely booed throughout his appearance. 

He made some promises, such as appointing a Libertarian to the Cabinet and pardoning a Libertarian who ran an online illegal drug market. 

But the booing grew louder when he asked for the party’s nomination. The Libertarians have long been critical of Trump’s record.


Trump argued that together they could win. As the boo-birds kept it up, he pushed back: Maybe you don’t want to win. You can keep on getting 3 percent in every election.

Trump argued the next day that as the Republican candidate he wasn’t allowed to seek another party’s nomination – though he had just done exactly that.

While many view the whole episode as a fiasco, I have a contrarian view.

Trump showed a willingness to step into the lion’s den. He stood his ground against the catcalls. He displayed his pugilistic style before what he had to know would be an unfriendly reception.

That’s quite a contrast with Biden giving safe economic speeches, mainly based on past legislation, before safe audiences.

Now the spotlight shifts back to the hush money trial, which the jury will get today.

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