by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Trump campaign has hit the accelerator unprecedentedly early for an incumbent candidate. As well as Wisconsin, he held a Keep America Great rally in the swing state of Ohio last week. Vice President Mike Pence is expected to tour Florida by bus this week, and Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law, is campaigning in suburban battlegrounds.
Tuesday’s rally is designed to offer TV viewers an up-tempo alternative to the Democratic debate.
“The timing of the Milwaukee rally is not an accident,” said Tim Murtaugh, director of communications for the Trump 2020 campaign. “Voters have been subjected to an endless series of droning Democrat debates, so what better counterprogramming could there be than a Trump Keep America Great rally?”
He declined to comment on future scheduling plans.
Trump used his rallies, which resemble stand-up comedy routines as much as traditional political addresses, in 2015 and 2016 to dominate airtime and generate hours of free publicity as he cut his way through a giant field of contenders. This time around, his campaign is using the events to collect the phone numbers and the emails of attendees, turning fans into voters and volunteers. …
… A Trump ally, who did not want to comment on strategy publicly, said he would not be surprised if the campaign held rallies in some of the early primary states to throw the spotlight off Democrats. In the meantime, Wisconsin was an obvious choice of location.