Creating conflict in cities, stirring racial unrest and then promising to protect people from that unrest is a flawed strategy. As the Atlantic’s Ronald Brownstein recently explained:
The political risk for Republicans in that strategy, many political observers told me, is not only that it could provoke more opposition from residents in the city centers, but that it could also accelerate the shift toward Democrats in the large, well-educated, and more and more diverse inner suburbs around the major cities. Over time, the “larger denser suburbs” have become “like cities and throw in with the cities” — they don’t identify as much with the less-populated areas. . . . His belligerent tone simultaneously risks hardening the opposition he’s facing from the many suburban voters who feel that he’s exposing them to more danger — both in his response to the policing protests and his unrelenting push to reopen the economy despite the coronavirus’s resurgence.
Imagine some suburban women presented with two messages: Trump’s Twitter blast and (released on the same day) a video of Biden and former President Barack Obama sitting in an office, quietly discussing the demands of crisis leadership and the need to rebuild the country by doing things such as helping with child care. In contrast to the obnoxious, hilariously ignorant president, the two Democrats engage in cordial conversation, serving up a comfort blend of technocratic expertise and empathy. (As the New York Times said of the video: “The reunion’s reliable, the-adults-are-in-the-room placidity suggests how the Biden campaign might counter the agitating theatrics of his opponent . . . [T]he video suggested, Mr. Biden’s campaign will make familiarity an asset, packaging him as TV comfort food.")
Trump plays perfectly into the contrast Biden seeks to create. Horror movie or “TV comfort food”? The candidate who tells you “Everything is going to be fine” or the candidate screaming, “The other guy is going to bring monsters into your neighborhood!” Female voters are vastly more savvy than Trump’s campaign believes; look for the gender gap to be among the largest in presidential history.
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