Less than four months away from the American presidential election, Brad Parscale, the digital specialist who significantly contributed to the 2016 victory, was replaced by a political adviser.
Donald Trump`s reelection campaign is facing turbulence only 3 1/2 months away from the vote; meanwhile, the polling becomes ever more worrisome for the American president. On the night of Wednesday, July 15, he announced the replacement of his campaign manager, 44-year-old digital specialist Brad Parscale, in favor of his deputy campaign manager, veteran Republican adviser Bill Stepien. The timing of the replacement, and the type of replacement, show the anxiety surrounding the president, who is running a complicated electoral race, one very different from what was anticipated only a few months ago. The pandemic ended his greatest achievement, the economy, and his management of the public health crisis has created a storm of critics.
According to the average of national poll results calculated by Real Clear Politics and updated on Thursday, the Democratic candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, has an 8-point lead over Trump (50.3% to 41.2%). Some polls show a much greater lead. The poll that was released on Wednesday by Quinnipiac University showed a 15-point lead.
Thinking about 2016 is unavoidable. All the polls in 2016 pointed to Hillary Clinton as the winner, but they were all wrong. Today, the difference is that the gap between Trump and Biden is much wider than the gap that separated the Democratic candidate from the current president at this time four years ago. Real Clear Politics’ average poll calculation did not surpass 2.7 percentage points back then. In an article Thursday, The New York Times calculated that, even applying the same margin of error from polls four years ago, Biden still remains in the lead in most states.
When asked about the polls on Tuesday, July 14, Trump minimized the numbers and affirmed that he does not see himself losing in November, stating that there are many hidden voters favoring him that the polls do not reflect. However, he has continued to show that his calm was not real. After the fiasco in his Tulsa, Oklahoma rally, where he brought in only 6,000 people from the expected tens of thousands, Michael Glassner, the chief rally organizer, was replaced. The campaign manager was also left on shaky ground. On Wednesday, July 15, Trump said on Facebook, “Brad Parscale, who has been with me for a very long time and has led our tremendous digital and data strategies, will remain in that role, while being a senior adviser to the campaign.”
The case of Parscale was, as was everything involved in Trump`s 2016 victory, an unexpected success, unconventional, and unconcerned with the implicit norms of American politics. He had no political experience, not even in one of Washington, D.C.’s think tanks. However, he was able to ensure that the hashtags #MakeAmericaGreatAgain and #MAGA dominated the discussion on Twitter and Facebook.
He came into the campaign as some sort of digital guru, having been endorsed by son-in-law Jared Kushner, after having created many websites for various business ventures for the Trump empire. After his 2016 electoral feat, as early as February 2018, the Republican president promoted him and nominated him as campaign manager for his reelection this November.
However, the magic does not seem to be working any longer, or perhaps the country in which this magic is deployed may no longer be the same. Polls offer a similar conclusion regarding Trump. Paradoxically, despite always remaining low, his popularity experienced its best moment shortly after the impeachment process in the Ukraine scandal, in which he was acquitted by the Senate. However, in his duel against Biden, he has always emerged as the loser, and in recent weeks the distance has only increased.
The economic collapse caused by the pandemic has destroyed his chief economic argument for reelection; namely, good economic progress and a nearly nonexistent level of unemployment. Much to the contrary, the United States is experiencing its greatest crisis since the Great Depression. Trump’s management of the coronavirus pandemic has been particularly erratic. He has contradicted his own health advisers, played down the severity of the virus and consistently encouraged the populace to act recklessly. However, the real poll will be the citizens’ votes on Tuesday, Nov. 3. There are still 3 1/2 months left, and Trump is trying to adjust course.
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