by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It is not uncommon for an incumbent president to blitz the establishment media as part of a re-elect campaign. Donald Trump is not the typical incumbent candidate. As National Review’s Rich Lowry once wrote, the establishment media is to the Trump coalition what the Soviet Union was to the Reagan coalition: an Evil Empire that glues its foes together.
Trump has held fewer press conferences than his five predecessors. In January, he told his press secretary to stop holding press briefings. The line has been that Trump gets his message out through conservative outlets and social media.
So why is President Trump hanging out in the lion’s den? The most obvious answer is that after spending much of his first term focused on maintaining and energizing his core supporters, he wants to reach swing voters. His team allows it has plans to reach out to independents and Democrats, while claiming it will not be easy in the current environment. But there are at least three reasons Trump would think it is worth the effort. …
… Trump and campaign manager Brad Parscale are telling the media the 2020 campaign will be about turnout, not persuasion. Turnout may well be their emphasis. “It all comes down to turnout” is a cliché because there is truth in it. But persuasion matters in a high-turnout election, which is what most already expect for 2020. And Trump won in 2016 in significant part by persuading former Obama voters.