Trump and Biden prepare for November

(Atlanta) Joe Biden and Donald Trump both won the White House by razor-thin margins in key states.

Now, with the resumption of their bitter 2020 campaign all but officially set for after Super Tuesday, both campaigns are revealing their strategies for a showdown between a president and his immediate predecessor.

The two campaigns will fight hard in seven key states, five of which flipped from Trump in 2016 to Biden four years ago. Mr. Biden’s re-election campaign says it has moved ahead to hire staff and target voters in swing states. Mr. Trump’s campaign officials are finalizing their takeover of the Republican National Committee this week and seeking to expand their operations on the ground.

Saturday, MM. Biden and Trump will each hold an event in Georgia, a week after simultaneously visiting Texas, on the border between the United States and Mexico. This speaks to the closeness of their respective campaigns, but also to the fact that they will strive for votes differently. Mr. Biden will visit the Atlanta metro area, where the population is diverse and rapidly growing. Mr. Trump will visit rural northwest Georgia and the district of Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a fiery conservative who is being talked about as a possible running mate.

In a statement released Tuesday evening, Mr. Biden lambasted Mr. Trump, saying the former president was “driven by resentment and greed, focused on his own revenge” and “determined to destroy democracy, to tear apart fundamental freedoms such as allowing women to make their own healthcare decisions and passing a new round of multibillion-dollar tax cuts for the richest.”

Mr Trump has spent months criticizing Mr Biden for inflation, rising numbers of migrants crossing the US-Mexico border, crime in US cities and wars in Ukraine and Israel. “It’s a beautiful country and it’s so sad to see what it has become,” he said Tuesday evening. We will straighten it out. »

Biden: a chance for a traditional campaign after the pandemic

Joe Biden’s campaign has recruited teams of three to five people ― each with deep state political experience ― in eight states: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina , Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Of those states, only Florida and North Carolina voted for Mr. Trump twice, although North Carolina is considered competitive by both parties. Mr. Biden and 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton both won Nevada.

The campaign plans to expand these teams to 15 people each, then bring in hundreds of paid organizers across all battlegrounds over the coming weeks. These organizers will in turn be responsible for coordinating tens of thousands of volunteers.

Mr. Biden’s effort will include “a big physical operation that we couldn’t do in 2020” because of COVID-19 restrictions, said Dan Kanninen, the campaign director for battleground states. This means the campaign will return to door-to-door canvassing and phone calls, prioritizing quality of contact with voters over quantity. It will also train volunteers and give them the opportunity to influence their own social networks, promoting Mr. Biden’s campaign in non-traditional online spaces that are best able to influence their parents, friends and neighbors.

“I see what we’re doing today as a smarter extension of what we learned in ’12 and also what we learned in 2020,” Mr. Kanninen said, referring to Mr. Biden’s victory and the successful re-election of then-President Barack Obama.

Mr. Biden’s campaign has lists of volunteers who participated in the 2020 and 2022 elections, allowing him to reactivate existing networks rather than starting from scratch. In Arizona, it prioritized Spanish-language outreach early on, opening its first local office in Maryvale, a Phoenix neighborhood that is about 75 percent Hispanic.

“We’re making sure we use the next couple of months to build the foundation for the general election very quickly,” said Sean McEnerney, Mr. Biden’s campaign manager in Arizona.

Mr. Kanninen doubts that Mr. Trump will have time to ramp up the Republican National Committee’s organizing efforts in the same way.

So far, Mr. Biden’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee have far outpaced Republicans in fundraising. Mr. Biden’s campaign reported $56 million on hand at the end of January, according to federal filings, while Mr. Trump’s campaign reported a balance of $30.5 million.

“He cannot buy back this time,” said Mr. Kanninen. You can’t replicate that by writing a big check, even if they had the money. »

Trump: A takeover of the RNC and an alignment behind “the boss”

For Mr. Trump, the next step after Super Tuesday is to take control of the National Republican Congress at the party’s spring meeting, which begins Thursday.

The former president will effectively absorb the GOP seat into his campaign, installing his preferred leadership with a priority of catching up with the fundraising and organizing operations that Mr. Biden’s re-election team shares with the DNC.

“It’s a message and a mechanism,” said Chris LaCivita, Mr. Trump’s senior adviser. If we do what we’re supposed to do from a campaign standpoint, we’ll be able to increase the number of states where we’re competitive. »

Mr. LaCivita, who is expected to become RNC operations director while retaining his role in the campaign, listed seven of the eight states that Mr. Biden’s campaign considers battlegrounds. He said he expected Mr. Trump to win Florida again, but promised the campaign would not be caught off guard there. He also estimated that Mr. Trump could be “competitive” in Virginia, a state that Democrats have won in every presidential race since 2008.

He plans for the RNC to begin expanding its field operations and adding staff to coordinate voter outreach “immediately” after the leadership transition at this week’s party meeting. Mr. LaCivita and Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law, will represent the former president at the Houston meeting. Lara Trump will become co-chair of the RNC alongside new chairman Michael Whatley, who currently leads the party in North Carolina.

“As soon as we get in, everything will change and we will focus more on the warring states than the community centers in Jacksonville, Florida,” LaCivita said.

This is a swipe at the RNC’s past investments in outreach centers targeting black and other minority voters who historically support Democrats at high percentages. At its peak in the 2022 cycle, the RNC had 38 such centers. Today, there are only seven left, located in North Carolina, a state potentially favorable to Democrats, but also in New York, California and Texas, a trio which will not be competitive in the presidential race. .

The development promised by Mr. LaCivita will require financial recovery. The DNC started the year with 2.5 times more money in the bank than the RNC, having raised more money than Republicans in 2023.

However, Mr. LaCivita said he was not worried about the overall dynamics as the general election took shape. “The advantage they may have in terms of timing, they will soon lose in terms of message,” he assured Tuesday evening.

The RNC has established a full-time Election Integrity Unit, with directors in 15 key states, to protect votes and conduct post-election litigation. The move is expected, as Mr. Trump demands that the RNC do more to back up its lies about widespread voter fraud. Lawyers supporting Mr. Trump filed dozens of unsuccessful lawsuits after his 2020 defeat.

The committee also hired political staffers in 15 battlegrounds, including those with important House and Senate races like New York, California and Montana, while launching a ballot initiative in-person early voting and ballot collection called “Bank Your Vote” in all 50 states, six territories and six languages.

Mr. LaCivita, for his part, mentioned another wild card: Mr. Trump “is very keen on New York”, the strongly Democratic state where the former president was born, raised and where he built his success in real estate , marketing and reality TV. The last time New York voted for a Republican presidential candidate was in 1984.

Asked what he thought about the possibility of swinging New York in Trump’s favor, Mr. LaCivita replied with a laugh: “I do what the boss says.” It’s the boss who drives. »


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