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Team Biden hopes Trump is his own worst enemy with independents

President Biden’s reelection campaign wants independent swing voters to really hear what former President Trump is saying.

Trump gets a lot of news coverage, particularly over his legal problems, which appears to be helping him win the GOP primary. But the Biden campaign thinks that it can emerge victorious in November if people are paying more attention to what Trump is saying — particularly what he says he’ll do as president. 

They argue this will turn off independent voters and help Biden, who is lagging behind in polls, pull off a reelection win.

“We’re lifting the dangerous and unpopular things Donald Trump says because it’s critical voters know just how devastating a second Trump term would be for families across the country,” said T.J. Ducklo, a Biden senior adviser for communications.

“The voters who will decide this election — the swing voters in the key battleground states, independents and the folks who particularly may not be paying as close attention right now because they’re busy living their lives — those are the folks we’re talking to,” Ducklo added.

They are putting muscle into the effort on social media, where they share clips of Trump talking about him welcoming the blame for killing the bipartisan border deal, defending himself for mixing up names and other verbal slipups, and saying Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) is “respected by everybody.”

The idea that Biden wants to run against Trump and believes his best way to keeping the White House is by demonizing the former president is not new. But with Trump now the likely GOP nominee and ahead of Biden in key polls, the anti-Trump operation will only get more intense.

Biden led Trump by nearly 10 points with independents in 2020, with 52 percent of such voters supported Biden, compared to 43 percent backing Trump, according to Pew Research Center

Strategists say elevating Trump through the Biden campaign is a way to recreate that.

“It can remind them of why they turned against Trump in 2020,” said GOP strategist Doug Heye, referring to swing voters. “It can have that affect for sure. That may be the bigger target actually than the base.”

The campaign has aggressively gone after Trump’s more controversial remarks, including saying recently that Black voters were attracted to him because he faced criminal indictments and that he’d serve as a dictator “only on day one” if reelected. 

“Today’s fractured media environment means everyone is getting their information from more places than ever – which is why it’s our job to capture people’s attention to alarming things Trump says when he says them,” Ducklo said.

Highlighting these types of comments from the former president can attracts the press, who in turn can report on it so swing voters see it, backers say.

“It’s always smart to be edgy or snarky by highlighting Trump’s nutty rhetoric. Their stuff is definitely creative and clever, and I assume it grabs the attention of their intended audience — the press. When journalists and legacy media pick up and amplify their content, they can reach even more people,” said Michael LaRosa, former press secretary to first lady Jill Biden and special assistant to Biden.

Heye said that part of the reason why the campaign lifts up Trump’s comments is that he isn’t dominating the media like he did in 2016 and 2020.

“The Biden campaign wants to, I think, make sure that on some of the more far-fetched or outrageous things that he says that the base or disaffected voters are reminded that they voted against the sequel to the to the movie one time and to try and push them to do it again,” he said.

Meanwhile, there’s no shortage of media attention on Trump’s legal troubles.

His four criminal indictments are well-documented by the media, and his trials are consistently covered on television and in print media.

The Biden campaign shares clips of Trump when he’s running for president, instead of when he’s defendant Trump sitting in courtrooms. 

“We’re focused on this election, not on Donald Trump’s personal problems,” Ducklo said. “What he says about immigrants ‘poising the blood of our country,’ about banning Muslims, imposing a national abortion ban, his refusal to protect IVF — these affect people’s lives. This election is not about what happens to Donald Trump. Like all elections, it’s about what happens to voters’ lives.”

The effort to elevate Trump’s rhetoric comes as Biden has struggled in polls with independent voters. Trump outpaced Biden by 11 points with independent voters in a Messenger/Harris poll in January. The former president garnered 46 percent, Biden got 35 percent and 20 percent said they were undecided.

Independents nearly split their vote in 2016, with 43 percent supporting Trump and 42 percent supporting Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Biden’s lead over Trump with the independent voting bloc in 2020 was essential to his success in winning back swing states Clinton had lost.

An alum of Biden’s 2020 campaign said the team highlighting Trump’s remarks to attract swing voters isn’t a substitute for the president taking on Trump’s words himself, suggesting Biden confront his rival head on.

“While the content creation and rapid response are supplemental components to communicating, the impact is far more consequential when voters and the media see or hear the candidate punching the other guy in the face,” the source said. “It’s hard to land punches on Trump with meaningful impact if Biden isn’t the one confronting him.”


Source: The Hill

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