Whatever you do, Trump campaign sources tell NHJournal, don’t call Donald Trump’s campaign stop at the Manchester Doubletree Thursday a “rally.” When it’s time for a Trump rally — and Granite Staters should definitely expect one at some point, Team Trump hints — you’ll know it. Watch for the huge crowds of sign wavers lined up at a venue like the SNHU arena.
No, Trump is coming to New Hampshire to deliver a policy speech, they insist, one focused on economics. They believe it’s a good topic for Trump, an opportunity to remind voters of the economic prosperity they enjoyed in the pre-COVID Trump era, as opposed to how they view the economy today.
In a new Fox News poll that hit Wednesday, voters gave Biden his lowest marks on the economy (35 percent approve – 63 disapprove). That presents a perfect opportunity for Trump, as do Biden’s low numbers on China (35-61 percent), immigration (36-61 percent), and Russia/Ukraine (43-53 percent).
Plus, 70 percent of Americans feel the economy is getting worse for their families. “That’s a high in Fox News polling going back 20 years, and three times the number who feel it’s getting better (23 percent),” the network reports. “The previous ‘getting worse’ record was 56 percent in 2006.”
“Overall, 43 percent of voters and 80 percent of Republicans have a favorable view of Trump. For Biden, it’s 44 percent favorable overall and 79 percent among Democrats,” Fox News reports.
So watch for Trump to exploit the economic issue during Thursday’s event, at which sources tell NHJournal they expect the former president to take unscripted questions from the audience. Why not, given that Biden was just busted with a cheat sheet giving him advance notice of a White House reporter’s question?
And, sources say, don’t be surprised if Trump pulls a “Zesto’s” while in the Granite State — stopping at a fast food joint or local diner for an unannounced appearance and quick bite, as he did at the Zesto’s restaurant in West Columbia, S.C. not long ago. It’s another chance to differentiate himself from the (allegedly) wooden Gov. Ron DeSantis, as well as Biden, who’s being protected from the press — not to mention the public at large — by his campaign.
Trump has also reportedly lined up a significant number of GOP endorsements to unveil on Thursday, a sign of his strength within the party,
Biden only has the support of 62 percent of Democratic primary voters in the Fox News poll. Meanwhile, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. — dismissed by Democrats and their media allies as an “anti-vax kook” — has 19 percent support. Marianne Williamson is at nine percent.
Not surprisingly, the Manchester event is also an opportunity for Trump to build his voter lists. According to campaign insiders, Trump’s two previous presidential bids left him with data on 192,000 voter contacts from previous races. It’s likely no more than 320,000 votes would be cast in the Republican primary, which means Trump just needs 120,000 or so to win.
Team Trump feels like they’ve got the Manchester event buttoned down, but there’s always a chance for surprises — as the DeSantis campaign found out when protesters rushed the stage in this same venue two weeks ago.
Plus — It’s Trump. Will he stick to the script and keep the attention on his policy positions? Or will he return to his complaints about the “stolen” 2020 election and lash out at Gov. Chris Sununu, who was on the radio calling him a “coward” and “wimp” on Wednesday?
Whatever happens in Manchester Thursday, Trump has a competent campaign team on the ground in the Granite State to amplify the good messages and suppress some of the bad. Like the millions in attack ads his allies have already launched targeting DeSantis, it’s more proof that Trump’s plan is to knock out the opposition early and turn his attention on Biden.
The question, as always, is what will Trump do next?