While the two national political conventions are still more than a month away, the two presidential candidates’ general election strategies are coming into focus. I discussed the contrast this week at New York.
Politico didn’t have to mince words when it came to describing the strategies Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will pursue in the key general-election battleground states:
Republicans will rely on the sheer force of Donald Trump’s personality to tap into deep-seated voter anger. Democrats are counting on a superior field organization to serve as Hillary Clinton’s firewall.
The Republicans quoted in the story appear to have decided to make a virtue of Trump’s famous disdain for data analytics, micro-targeting, and all that other fancy-dan stuff. He doesn’t need it.
“His job is to be Mr. Trump,” said Rob Gleason, the chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party. “His appeal is very different than a normal politician. Usually, when we have rallies for people, we prepare weeks in advance. All he has to do is announce three days ahead of time he’s going to be somewhere and a huge crowd shows up. It always energizes people.”
Indeed, Trump’s casual approach to figuring out what to do where is encouraging to GOP leaders in places presidential candidates usually skip:
Deployed the right way, Trump’s force-of-nature persona could help flip some long-blue states toward the GOP, others said.
“I think if he invests in Michigan and shows up in our state, he will do very well,” said Ronna Romney McDaniel, chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party (and niece of 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney). “We haven’t had a candidate actually run a robust campaign in Michigan where they’re showing up post-convention.”
You may recall that Sarah Palin pitched a fit in 2008 because the McCain campaign would not waste time and money contesting Michigan. Her buddy Trump may be easier to persuade. After all, he’s “very different from a normal politician.”
By contrast, Hillary Clinton is going to deploy all the state-of-the-art political resources she can. Her events may not have the demonic energy of Trump’s White Resentment Festivals, but she’s not counting on outgunning the mogul in some imaginary enthusiasm competition.