Inside Trump’s war room

Inside Trump’s war room, by Ben Riley-Smith.

He already has $100m banked, a set-up that dwarfs his 2016 campaign and a killer plan. …

The President and his advisers have ­identified soaring growth as their best chance of re-election, judging that Americans tend not to vote against their own pockets. …

There are the pledges delivered from his 2016 race — “promises kept”, as his campaign calls it: the US is out of the Iran nuclear deal and ­leaving the Paris climate-change agreement. ISIS’s caliphate is “gone” and North Korea is “negotiating”. Tariffs on tens of billions of dollars’ worth of steel and aluminium trade have been levied, much of it targeting China. The North American Free Trade Agreement has been renegotiated. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has passed. Plus, two new conser­vative judges are ­sitting on the Supreme Court — a huge win for Trump’s evangelical supporters.

There are notable failures, too. Obamacare, the flagship healthcare law of Mr Trump’s predecessor, remains on the statute books. The border wall is unbuilt and will not be financed by Mexico. Immigration numbers have not shot down. There is growing concern that the trade war with China will hurt the economy. Yet, whatever their merits, the policies Trump championed during his first tilt at the White House have largely been put into practice. …

Since 1900 there have been 20 US presidents apart from Trump. Just five who stood for re-election lost. At Trump campaign HQ, the team is plotting to take advantage of that incumbency factor. …

Deafening Cheers Break Out For Trump At National Championship Game. Glenn Reynolds: “Absurd. The press assures me that he’s extremely unpopular.”

The Republican Party, in contrast to its role in 2016, is said to be working “hand in glove” with the Trump team and believes it has far superior information on US voters than the Democrats. Every American is given a score between 0 and 100, the latter denoting the most dedicated Trump fan, and targeted accordingly. It is based on data such as past voting history and location.

Key to the re-election plan are Trump’s rallies: attended by thousands of cheering, raucous supporters, they were a centrepiece of his first White House bid. Their political benefit is partly messaging, allowing Trump to speak unfiltered to voters. But they also glean another vital campaign ­commodity: data. The Trump team sees rallies as a volunteer registration opportunity, a way to log personal details of supporters and lock them in tighter to the campaign. Sign-up forms to attend capture valuable information. Staff question those queuing to get in for more intel. …

Trump’s political instincts and media manipulation were key factors in his 2016 win. Already he has identified weak spots in potential Democrat rivals and handed out nicknames — “Crazy” Bernie Sanders, “Sleepy” Joe Biden. Campaign officials have no intention of trying to quieten “the boss”. But could his unpredictability distract from that “golden” economic message? [Larry] Sabato thinks so: “This is going to be a contest not so much between Trump and the Democrats but between Trump’s economy and Trump’s personality.”