Donald Trump reelection campaign strategy a change from previous presidents


President Donald Trump speaking Jan. 30 at Drake University’s Knapp Center in Des Moines. Trump discussed the new USMCA trade agreement and hit out at his potential Democratic rivals.

Kylee Haueter

In 2020, President Donald Trump is seeking to accomplish a feat that has never been done before — become the first impeached president to win reelection.

Trump’s reelection campaign has been active on the Iowa State campus, though neither the Trump reelection campaign nor the College Republicans of Iowa State responded to requests for comment for this article.

The Trump campaign set up tables on the Iowa State campus ahead of the Iowa Republican caucuses to campaign and register voters. The president easily won the caucuses, receiving 97.1 percent of the popular vote and all but one of the delegates up for grabs, with challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld receiving one delegate.

Scott Feinstein, assistant professor of political science, said Trump “dominates” news coverage in a departure from news coverage of previous presidents.

“This not only helps him refocus events and issues, but there is also a perception that his ability to be unconventional makes him successful,” Feinstein said.

As of early March, Trump’s reelection bid seems to be an uphill climb. His Democratic presidential rivals consistently lead him in hypothetical polls of general election matchups.

Feinstein said unlike most presidential incumbents, Trump goes after specific opponents.

“In the past, many have found that combating specific challengers unduly elevates their status giving the impression that the challenger is a force to be taken seriously,” Feinstein said.

Feinstein said Trump has been able to avoid this perception and successfully puts his opponent on the defensive.

Trump’s campaign also regularly sends out press releases hitting out at his potential rivals. In a release Saturday, Trump’s 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale said Trump was the clear winner of the South Carolina Democratic primary because none of the Democratic candidates could beat him in November.

“The president will be running on his solid record of achievement for all Americans and will wipe the floor with whichever Democrat is unlucky enough to emerge,” Parscale said in the release. “The South Carolina results just prove what a hot mess the Democrat primaries are, as the field once again descends into chaos heading into Super Tuesday. We don’t know who the eventual nominee will be, but they are all the same, and their radical big government socialist policies will be on the Democrat ballot in November no matter what.”

Another strategy Trump could use to aid in his reelection is successfully navigating the nascent COVID-19 outbreak. Feinstein said Trump could respond to the outbreak by using his policies on immigration to appeal to traditional Republicans. 

“Conversely, a health care response to the virus that promotes access to all patients may help highlight the positive attributes of several Democratic candidates’ platforms,” Feinstein said. “The virus may also trouble the economy to a great degree, hampering the president’s ability to herald an economic boom.”

Noting the potential pitfalls that the disease may bring, Feinstein said a lot could happen economically and socially before the November general election that could change the electoral landscape. As of Tuesday afternoon, all three major American stock exchange indices had entered correction territory, more than 10 percent off of a recent high.