The Trump 2020 campaign is beginning to look a lot like the 2016 campaign, where crossover Democratic votes gave Trump several key states, including Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
At the president’s rally in Phoenix Wednesday night, they were getting in line for tickets 48 hours before the event at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Campaign manager Brad Pascale gives a breakdown of the crowd.
Wow, Arizona! Big Phoenix rally.
✅ 67,516 Tickets
✅ 29,990 Voters Identified (87% from AZ)
✅ 26% Didn’t Vote in 2016
✅ 18% Democrats
Thank You Arizona. Winning Data!
— Brad Parscale – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@parscale) February 20, 2020
The latest rally numbers are indicative of an overall trend at Trump events, where a sizable chunk of the audience consists of registered Democrats, independents, or 2016 nonvoters.
Almost half of the attendees at a recent Trump rally in Ohio were Democrats or independents, and the majority of attendees at a Wisconsin rally were not Republicans. Seventeen percent of the attendees at Trump’s latest rally in New Hampshire weren’t engaged in the political process enough to vote in 2016, while about 10% at his New Jersey rally felt the same way.
Anyone check to see how many Republicans showed up at Bernie Sanders’ rally?
The point is simple. Trump’s unorthodoxy crosses party lines, racial divides, and scrambles traditional politics. They call it “populism” but it’s more.
Some might point to the emotional heat at Trump rallies as a warning that the president’s populist appeal to nationalism is dangerous. It may be tribal, but it’s not dangerous. These are ordinary Americans — many of whom have ignored politics for their entire lives — who want to vote for someone who speaks their language. It’s a different kind of celebrity that attracts such a wide swath of Americans. It’s not like Brad Pitt is running for president. Trump is more a cartoon celebrity — Wile E. Coyote and smart-mouthed Bugs Bunny rolled into one.
Trump may deliberately lie and exaggerate; he may get many facts wrong. But no one expects him to be honest and trustworthy. In the expectations game played by the media, Trump breaks the mold and beats expectations every time. Maybe that’s his secret weapon: his ability to constantly surprise everyone.
Since the press can’t pigeonhole him, they play the same tired old game of “gotcha” expecting the public to finally “wake up” and proclaim Trump a false god. They thought portraying Trump as a Russian agent would work. Then the Mueller report came out. They thought they could tar Trump with the Nixonian crime of “abuse of power” when he fired incompetent FBI Director James Comey. It didn’t take.
Time and again, the Democrats and media thought they finally “had” Trump and the American people were ready to rise up in their righteous might and smite the president down. Imagine their surprise and chagrin when few agreed with them.
I think the only way a Democrat wins the White House in November is by throwing out the rulebook and running a campaign as unorthodox as Trump’s. As it stands now, none of the candidates appears willing to do that.