Trump’s self-inflicted injury: voters who lose while playing at his base

Even if you wanted to engage voters beyond your most loyal supporters, you may find that you have little freedom to maneuver after defining yourself so vividly in public life, particularly in recent months.

Trump and his advisers have contested polls showing him struggling, noting that in the coming months they will try to strip some of Biden’s support with attacks on, among other things, his age and mental acuity. That could also cast doubt on the former vice president among the remaining undecided voters.

And despite all their concerns about Trump’s response to the pandemic and the protests, these undecided voters approve of his handling of the economy, suggesting a path to victory for Trump in the fall if economic conditions begin to rebound.

“If I had to vote based on the economy, right now, I’m sorry, but it would be Trump,” said Cheryl VanValkenburg, a factory worker living in Watertown, Wisconsin, a Republican suburb. She said she voted for Trump in 2016.

Christina Stoutenburg-Sanchez, 30, who lives in Smiths Creek, Michigan, an hour north of Detroit, said she was not happy with Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden. She said she was inclined to vote for Mr. Biden. “But as much as I don’t like Trump, if he came together and really fixed it for our country, he could persuade me,” he said.

Dan Hazelwood, a Republican strategist, said Trump had been wounded for his unstable response to the coronavirus pandemic and to national protests protesting police brutality and systemic racism. But he believes Trump could still muster a block of voters who would support him over Biden.

“Right now, the Trump coalition needs motivation,” he said. “The economy and the pandemic have absorbed the enthusiasm. At least 50 percent of the United States has deep and serious political concerns with Biden and the Democrats. A choice of ‘choice’ between two political leadership is the motivation that the Trump coalition needs, and that is why Biden is trying to be vanilla. ”

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