by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Trump needs to use his party convention to heap pressure and headlines on his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, while resisting the temptation to hog the spotlight, according to Republican strategists and allies.
They say time is running out to reverse a poll deficit and that the Republican National Convention could be Trump’s last, best chance to prevent the election from being purely a referendum on his record.
Republican strategist Ron Bonjean, a former Senate GOP leadership aide, said they had to present voters with a choice between two visions of the country.
“They need to be realistically upbeat about the future of the country while showcasing the president’s record and contrasting it with Biden’s failure to lead over the past 47 years he’s been in Washington,” he said.
A former White House official said the best way would be to present an upbeat tone to contrast with the Democratic convention’s air of doom.
“I think it’s important to define Biden and contrast him with the president, but because of the general depressing and dour tone of the Democrat convention, I think it’s extra important for Republicans to paint a positive message of hope next week,” he said.
The challenge is similar to that faced by incumbents down the ages: how best to ensure the election campaign is not merely a granular dissection of every decision and every misstep they have made in office.
This time, they have advantages. Not only do they face a challenger with a long record in Washington, but they have had a week to digest the lessons learned by Democrats who grappled with the challenge of putting on a convention during a time of pandemic.
The aim is to deliver a more engaging package than what some observers said was an overproduced, sterile Democratic infomercial.