President Trump during his acceptance speech for his renomination by Republicans went beyond his normal pitch, the one in which he’s laser-focused on revving up his base. He did so by appealing to the patriotism of those voters he thinks still could swing his way, and by portraying a huge segment of America in bleak terms, calling them dangerous, indicating they are not as grateful or patriotic as others and otherwise caricaturing them.

His efforts to appeal particularly to suburban women and undecided voters were not subtle, from a president who is performing poorly with all of these groups. But most of his time was spent attacking those individuals among these demographics who experience America differently than the president and questioning their patriotism. While this is common for Trump when speaking at a rally filled with his most faithful supporters, the president deploying this strategy this week was meant to create deep mistrust of his critics and their politics among those who might still be undecided.

He said:

This election will decide whether we SAVE the American Dream, or whether we allow a socialist agenda to DEMOLISH our cherished destiny. It will decide whether we rapidly create millions of high paying jobs, or whether we crush our industries and send millions of these jobs overseas, as has foolishly been done for many decades. Your vote will decide whether we protect law abiding Americans, or whether we give free rein to violent anarchists, agitators, and criminals who threaten our citizens. And this election will decide whether we will defend the American Way of Life, or whether we allow a radical movement to completely dismantle and destroy it.
Joe Biden is not the savior of America's soul — he is the destroyer of America's Jobs, and if given the chance, he will be the destroyer of American Greatness.
For 47 years, Joe Biden took the donations of blue collar workers, gave them hugs and even kisses, and told them he felt their pain -- and then he flew back to Washington and voted to ship their jobs to China and many other distant lands. Joe Biden spent his entire career outsourcing the dreams of American Workers, offshoring their jobs, opening their borders, and sending their sons and daughters to fight in endless foreign wars.
Unfortunately, from the beginning, our opponents have shown themselves capable of nothing but a partisan ability to criticize. When I took bold action to issue a travel ban on China, Joe Biden called it hysterical and xenophobic. If we had listened to Joe, hundreds of thousands more Americans would have died.
Instead of following the science, Joe Biden wants to inflict a painful shutdown on the entire country. His shutdown would inflict unthinkable and lasting harm on our nation's children, families, and citizens of all backgrounds.
The cost of the Biden shutdown would be measured in increased drug overdoses, depression, alcohol addiction, suicides, heart attacks, economic devastation and more. Joe Biden’s plan is not a solution to the virus, but rather a surrender.

Given Trump’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, the economic downturn and a widely panned response to the civic unrest sweeping the country in response to police violence against Black people, the president and his team appear to have understood that he is losing some support with his base. As a result, the president sought to connect with voters who previously were not supportive of him and his administration.

Trump spoke to some of the issues that he has been accused of giving short shrift — racism in America, the coronavirus pandemic and the economic woes of the working class. But he did it in ways that checked the box, not ways that conceded he has fallen short thus far. Among his statements on these issues were:

“We will ensure equal justice for citizens of every race, religion, color and creed."

“We will have a safe and effective vaccine this year, and together we will crush the virus.”

“In a new term as President, we will again build the greatest economy in history — quickly returning to full employment, soaring incomes, and RECORD prosperity!”

“Instead of acknowledging these things, Trump attacked Democrats and the voters who share their worldview,” he said. “In the left’s backward view, they do not see America as the most free, just and exceptional nation on earth. Instead, they see a wicked nation that must be punished for its sins.”

“Our opponents say that redemption for YOU can only come from giving power to THEM,” Trump added. “This is a tired anthem spoken by every repressive movement throughout history.”

In a race where the outcomes are expected to be tight — especially in swing states, appealing to those on the margins could be key to Trump’s success. The major cultural issues of this summer have made it clear that if Trump wants to attract more support for his agenda, he is going to have to convince some of those Americans who haven’t already bought into it. And perhaps one of the most effective ways of doing that is not just by making the case for himself, but making a case against his opponents — even if it’s not rooted in truth and accuracy.