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Across a 12-hour period on Thursday, President Donald Trump stepped directly onto some of the most volatile fault lines that could rev up his fiercest supporters. | Alex Wong/Getty Images 2020 elections In a single day, Trump shows his 2020 cards The president is sending his base a clear message: He’s still fighting even if…
President Donald Trump is on a mission to show supporters he’s still the same fighter they elected.
He pushed back against establishment Washington on Thursday with a one-two punch — first by giving conservative bloggers a space to air their grievances about anti-conservative media bias, and then by announcing anexecutive orderto collect data about immigrants after the courts blocked him from adding a citizenship question to the census.
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The actions — like so many other policies and events being organized by the Trump White House — aren’t likely to yield substantive policy changes. But they’re designed to appeal to the president’s conservative base as he heads into a tough reelection fight.
“That’s what the president does better than anyone: He fights,” said longtime Republican operative Ben Marchi, a Trump delegate to the 2016 national convention. “His ability to ‘never say die’ is one that doesn’t mesh with the Georgetown establishment. They view it as simple-minded and unintelligent, but the reality is that regular Americans appreciate his dogged persistence.”
Across a 12-hour period Thursday, in speeches and on Twitter, Trump stepped directly onto some of the most volatile fault lines that could rev up his fiercest supporters: immigration, the Pledge of Allegiance, social media bias, unfair trade with China, big banks, Iran, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference, impeachment and, of course, individuals Democratic candidates for president.
It was a one-day sampling of what Trump hopes will give him a winning hand in 2020.
Washington’s established institutions— caring little about perceptions by anyone but supporters who flocked to him in 2016 because they were frustrated by business as usual, people close to Trump say.
In many cases, Trump only achievesincremental stepsor none at all — far from what he promised Americans when he was on the campaign trail in 2016. But most supporters still don’t see it as a failure. Instead, they see a man who is doing what he said he would.
Steve Cortes, a Trump ally who served on his Hispanic Advisory Council during the 2016 campaign and is serving on his 2020 reelection committee, described it as part of Trump’s “winning political formula for 2020.”
But anew pollthis week backed up what many Republicans have been advising Trump for months: He has a path to reelection if he can stick to a message focused on the strong economy.
Fifty-one percent of those polled said they approve of the way Trump hands the economy — the only major issue in which he has positive numbers — with 47 percent saying he deserves a large amount of credit for the state of the economy.
Still, Trump continues to veer off track, blasting his critics and talking up some of the nation’s most divisive issues including immigration.
It‘s led some Republicans to worry that Trump spends too much time appealing to his base instead of expanding his supporters through more mainstream policies. They lament that he has lost support of suburban voters in several key electoral states — including Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — that were instrumental to Trump’s 2016 electoral college win but that Republicans lost in the 2018 midterms.
Alex Acosta’s controversial past involvement as a prosecutor in wealthy sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s plea deal in 2008.
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