Trump’s Republican allies are complaining that he lacks a coherent policy agenda for a second term: report
Although President Donald Trump is unlikely to win the popular vote in the 2020 presidential election, it’s possible that he will manage to pull off another victory in the Electoral College if he wins enough votes in key swing states — which is why the presidential campaign of former Vice President Joe Biden is paying close attention to the polls in Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio and Arizona. Journalists Nancy Cook and Meridith McGraw, in an article published in Politico on August 24, examine some of the things Trump might do from a policy standpoint if he wins a second term. And according to the Politico journalists, some of Trump’s Republican allies worry that he is falling short when it comes to laying out the specifics of a possible second-term policy agenda.
“As a reality TV star,” Cook and McGraw explain, “Donald Trump seized the White House with an unusual slate of Republican pledges: take on China, tear up trade deals, restrict immigration. But as president, Trump has faced warnings from a long line of GOP stalwarts that he can’t win in 2020 by offering more of the same. So, as the Republican National Convention looms, Trump and his team have scrambled to find new twists on old favorites to quell concerns about the question that has bedeviled him for months: what would he do with four more years?”
For the article, Politico interviewed some political analysts or strategists. Democratic strategist David Axelrod, who played a key role in President Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, told Politico, “(Trump) is a producer of a reality show, and he is a guy who looks for wedges. So, this idea of, ‘What would you do with the next four years?’ — you might as well ask that question in Greek. They can create a working group in the White House, but there is a working group between Trump’s left and right ears — and that generally wins out in these discussions.”
One expects Axelrod to say negative things about Trump’s campaign. But some pro-Trump Republicans, according to Cook and McGraw, believe that he is dropping the ball from a “messaging” standpoint. An anonymous source described by the journalists as a “top Republican fundraiser and Trump supporter” told Politico, “We’re running out of time to refocus messaging properly. The voters we want to reach in swing states and the Rust Belt are primarily concerned with how we will get their jobs back from China and keep their streets safe.”
Julian Zelizer, a professor of public affairs and history at Princeton University, offered some thoughts on possible Trump policies if he wins a second term. Zelizer told Politico, “I assume Trump will continue with deregulation, another round of tax cuts and immigration policy, with one big thing to boast about after reelection. People running for president for the first time have great ambitions, but normally, after four years, an administration is more seasoned and has a better idea of how Congress will react — and in some ways, is more prepared.”
Republican strategist Karl Rove stressed that Trump’s reelection campaign will need to get into policy specifics. Rove told Politico, “No president is reelected on the basis of saying, ‘I’ve done a good job. Reelect me.’ They have to say, ‘I’ve got a second act in me.’”