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Trump runs the kind of campaign he likes, but doesn’t run the campaigns he might need

x “Many Republican consultants are dissatisfied because they want the president’s campaign to focus on the economy,” said David Kochel, a Republican strategist in Iowa. “Their best message is: Trump has built a great economy,” and Covid-19 hurt it, and Mr. Trump is a better option than Mr. Biden to recover it, he said.

Keep up with the 2020 elections

“Our base loves things about Hunter Biden, laptops and Mayor Giuliani,” Kochel added. “But they have already voted for Trump.”

Prior to Mr. Trump’s upset victory in 2016, his campaign also mixed private anxiety with public bragging about the apparent potential for defeat. But unlike now, Mr. Trump attacked Hillary Clinton as a corrupt insider and ended the race with a message from a jackhammer that promised drastic economic change. This is a much clearer argument than what he offers today.

Other campaign leaders, including Steppin and senior strategist Jason Miller, have emphasized to Republicans in Washington that they expect them to outperform polls. They say their own data suggest closer competition in many states, including Arizona and Pennsylvania, than surveys conducted by the press. They are betting that voter turnout machines built by voter registration and Mr. Trump’s team over the past four years will ultimately dominate a narrow range of states on election day.

Still, some prominent Republicans have pointed out in new direct terms the possibility of the president’s defeat, or even the possibility. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said this week that the Democratic Party “is likely to win the White House,” Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse said his party faced a “blood bath.” He said it could be.

Fear of retaliation by Mr. Trump has puzzled most members of the party, but strategists have said that Trump spent the last few weeks of the campaign avoiding collaborative efforts to find new supporters. I’m deeply concerned that I might spend it entertaining and energizing supporters-approach that can cripple other Republicans running for public office.

Republican strategist Ken Spain said Mr. Trump “did not deliver a consistent message during the most important times of the campaign.”

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