Although South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg was declared the winner of last week’s Iowa caucus, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders closely defeated his moderate rival in the New Hampshire primary with a lead of 1.6 percent. He managed to secure a 26 percent vote share over Buttigieg, leaving the Indiana Mayor with a 24.4 percent vote share.
Meanwhile, the Republicans held their own primary in New Hampshire and US President Donald Trump emerged unscathed with an 85.5 percent vote share. His main rival, former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, only secured a 9.2 percent vote share. Therefore, the sitting President is overwhelmingly likely to be facing the Democrats during the 2020 US Presidential Election. Regardless of who wins the Democrats’ primaries, it will help Trump develop his campaign message and strategy.
Considering it was swing states like Pennsylvania and Michigan that lifted the President to power in 2016, the Trump campaign is aiming to regain votes from these states after the Democrats performed well in these battlegrounds during the 2018 midterms.
Other swing states like Minnesota and New Hampshire will be pivotal during this election, which is why it is reassuring for Trump that he performed so well in the latter’s GOP primary. Policies like securing the most radical tax cuts since the Bush era and reforming NAFTA will be vital in persuading moderate voters in these battlegrounds to vote for the President. A thriving economy will also be vital to Trump’s fortunes.
Furthermore, the Republican campaign will focus on black voters. If Barack Obama’s former Vice President, Joe Biden, secures the Democratic nomination, it will be harder for Trump to win their support as the former is popular among black Americans due to his association with his former boss. Maggie Haberman, Annie Karni and
Republican National Committee officials believe many Republican voters will flock back to the party after Trump appointed conservative judges and delivered on his promise of tax cuts.
Suburban women will be harder to sway. Republican officials have witnessed a surge in support for the President when he has discussed how the Democrats intend to end private health care insurance and provide government health care benefits to undocumented immigrants. Yet that statement is not entirely true and for that reason it is a difficult line to argue.
If Sanders goes on to win the Democratic primaries, the Trump campaign will focus on brandishing his rivals as ‘socialists.’ Indeed, the Vermont Senator embraces the term ‘democratic socialist.’ Although a Gallup poll last year revealed that 68 percent of Americans believe wealth should be evenly distributed, the UK’s general election proves that if enough conservative-leaning voters and moderates turn out to vote, radical socialism can be defeated at the ballot box. Only 25 percent of Americans identify as socialists.
The President’s campaign will be betting on a Sanders win so that they can adopt the same strategy the Conservative Party did to defeat Jeremy Corbyn last December.
It is rumoured that Bill Clinton encouraged Trump to run for president because he is the right man for an ‘Instagram election.’ The President’s strategy to defeat his opponents will depend upon his proficiency at social media. Other politicians like Jair Bolsonaro copied his strategy and initiated a “Brazil First” campaign on Facebook. Whoever wins the Democratic race will have to match Trump’s regular tweeting.
Although Trump’s campaign is likely to focus on the economy and a message that appeals to both his base and moderate voters, the key to the President’s strategy will be whoever the Democrats select as their candidate, and there is a long way to go before that outcome is decided.