Trump looks for love in all the wrong places

Trump looks for love in all the wrong places
© Getty Images

While Americans look for leadership to help fight the pandemic, Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden holds massive cash advantage over Trump ahead of Election Day Tax records show Trump maintains a Chinese bank account: NYT Trump plays video of Biden, Harris talking about fracking at Pennsylvania rally MORE has been looking for love in all the wrong places. Instead of reaching out to independent voters, he promotes birther theories, traffics in tweets from racists and QAnon supporters

The president has good reason to fear for his political future, but he should at least try to expand his support base rather than to rely on his existing base of hard-core supporters, which is too small to win. A new national survey for NBC News and the Wall Street Journal is chock full of bad news for the president. There are, however, a few glimmers of hope for a second Trump term. Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden holds massive cash advantage over Trump ahead of Election Day Tax records show Trump maintains a Chinese bank account: NYT Trump plays video of Biden, Harris talking about fracking at Pennsylvania rally MORE shouldn’t lose a lot of sleep, though; his opponent shows little inclination to reach out to the voters that he needs to win a second term. 

The poll registers a 9-point national lead and a 7-point advantage in the battleground states for former Vice President Biden. The Democratic presidential nominee has led the incumbent in the last nine national surveys by the two news organizations, with an advantage of anywhere from 6 to 11 points.


But polls are snapshots — not videos. Surveys are static in a volatile political climate. Biden has enjoyed a steady lead for several months, but the media survey indicates there are still large numbers of voters who have questions about Biden’s abilities. Those doubts could be deadly for the Democratic challenger but only if Trump reaches beyond his base, which he has steadfastly refused to do so far.

The new poll indicates that party partisans are already solidly in their own candidate’s corner. The situation is dramatically different with political independents. Roughly half of the unaligned voters support Biden while about a quarter are with Trump. Another quarter of the swing voters are still in play, but the president blissfully ignores them even though they offer the best hope he has for a second term in the White House. He would rather court the extremists in his party who have always adored him and are willing to show him eternal love and admiration.

If he has any hope of winning reelection, the president cannot continue to ignore the fight against the pandemic that has killed more than 170,000 people and left millions of other Americans mourning for friends and family members. While he pretends the pandemic will simply just disappear, most voters fault his failure to aggressively fight against the deadly disease.

The incumbent also needs to make amends to the women who have deserted him. He runs slightly ahead of Biden with male voters, but the Republican nominee is getting his clock cleaned by women. Donald Trump’s reaction to Joe Biden’s choice of Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisTrump plays video of Biden, Harris talking about fracking at Pennsylvania rally Overnight Defense: US, Russia closer on nuclear treaty extension after Moscow accepts warhead freeze | Khashoggi's fiancee sues Saudi crown prince | Biden nets hundreds more national security endorsements Democrats make gains in Georgia Senate races: poll MORE to the Democratic presidential nominee won’t make the situation any better.

Within days of her selection as Joe Biden’s running mate, the president resorted to personal attacks against the first African American woman to grace the national ticket of one of the major parties. He called her a “nasty woman” for her questioning of his Supreme Court nominee Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughSupreme Court's Pennsylvania mail ballot ruling tees up test for Barrett Lindsey Graham says two women confronted him in airport over Barrett 51 percent want Barrett seated on Supreme Court: poll MORE over allegations that he had forced himself sexually on a woman. In a White House press conference on Thursday, the president failed to dismiss birther allegations that the Oakland-born California senator was not a natural born citizen of the United States.


The Democratic vice presidential nominee is just another in a long line of women that the president has insulted, demeaned and disrespected. In contrast, Joe Biden’s choice of Harris shows that he is comfortable with strong independent women. Harris scuffled with Biden aggressively during the first Democratic presidential debate, but Biden chose her anyway. Can you imagine Donald Trump doing the same thing? I don’t think so, and most female voters won’t think so either.

Less than three months before Election Day, the president has already abandoned the idea of running a campaign to cut his losses with female and African American voters and to reach out to swing voters. Instead, the Trump campaign plan is to corral the usual suspects and hope for the best. Hope is not an effective strategy for fighting a pandemic and it’s certainly no way to win a presidential campaign.

Brad Bannon is a Democratic pollster and CEO of Bannon Communications Research. He is also the host of a radio podcast “Dateline D.C. With Brad Bannon” that airs on the Progressive Voices Network. Follow him on Twitter @BradBannon.