Trump’s 11-Hour Campaign Gambit: Give Voters Money

HAt the end of the election and lagging behind by a substantial margin in the polls, Donald Trump is pinning his political hopes on winning voters with cash.

Over the past month, the president and his team united around a series of policies that would result in billions of dollars being allocated to critical constituencies from the start of the vote: a proposal to dramatically increase government loans in African American communities, an order to send seniors a $ 200 rebate card for prescription drug purchases and a new desire for an ambitious stimulus package to deal with the fallout from COVID-19.

Critics view the slice of ideas as tantamount to government-sanctioned voter buyouts. The tax conservatives have bristled in private. But the president may see them as his latest electoral panacea. The only question is whether he can withdraw the money quickly enough.

“It’s smart policy and smart policy,” a senior Trump campaign adviser said. The goal, added the adviser, was to reaffirm a framework that worked well in 2016: “one side sees you as the forgotten man and the forgotten woman who is worth fighting for, and the other you considers it deplorable and irremediable. “

Trump’s frantic race to put money in the hands of critical ridings comes against the backdrop of a campaign that is fighting for political momentum. What surprises some observers is not that he is now trying to push his way out of that hole and into a second term, but that it has taken him so long to start doing so.

I think embracing the populist (and popular) part of the vision he was elected to have might have mattered, but we’re way past the point where those surges of desperation can change the course of the race.

GOP Strategist Liam Donovan

“It’s a real head scraper, and we will consider it a huge mistake,” said GOP quarterback Liam Donovan. “I think embracing the populist (and popular) part of the vision he was elected for might have mattered, but we’re well past the point where those surges of desperation can change the course of the race.

In 2016, Trump ran for president as an unorthodox Republican, eager to remind voters he wanted to protect rights agendas, revamp free trade agreements, and spend large sums on things like infrastructure. The recipe barely worked. And for a while, Democrats rushed to adjust to the possibility that the Republican Party claimed the mantle of working class populism.

But that panic began to fade when Trump took office, choosing to pursue Obamacare repeal, massive tax cuts and a deregulation program on things like infrastructure investments and declining prices. prescription drug prices. Looking back now, some Democrats can’t believe their luck.

“As far as the way he ruled, he has been a traditional fiscal conservative, down the line, on virtually every subject,” said Representative Brendan Boyle (D-PA). “No doubt about it. If he had truly governed in an economically populist manner, I think he would have been in a stronger position.

But the problem Trump faces, sources surrounding his campaign have conceded, is not only that his government agenda does not match his populist promises, it’s that his re-election campaign message has also abandoned those promises. . His opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, has many of the same vulnerabilities Hillary Clinton had in 2016. Biden voted for major trade deals that Trump says led to the ruin of the Rust Belt. And Biden’s close ties to the credit card industry have allowed former opponents to accuse him of siding with corporate interests over consumers.

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