Jason Riley’s best advice for Donald Trump in the upcoming debate (and last) is that the President must not take his base for granted, as Hillary did in 2016.
Save attacking Anthony Fauci and Hunter Biden for Trump rallies, where enthusiasm runs high. No more bellowing about political rivals being jailed. At the debate, Mr. Trump should stick to his many achievements, advises Mr. Riley in the WSJ.
The president’s problem isn’t a lack of enthusiasm among his supporters, it’s a lack of supporters, which is why he’s trailing.
Mr. Trump ought to find a way to talk about his accomplishments abroad and contrast his approach with that of Mr. Obama and the former vice president.
Mr. Trump’s counterterrorism victories include the demise of both Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani and ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The president has pulled the U.S. out of a nuclear deal with Iran that allowed the mullahs to increase defense spending and finance mayhem in Syria and Iraq. And after decades of boycotting Israel, several Arab nations have agreed to recognize the Jewish state.
Voters Don’t Blame Trump for COVID
The president might also build on the fact that voters don’t blame him for the onset of (COVID) and they continue to give him high marks for the pre-pandemic economy.
Mr. Biden and the left have attacked the Trump tax cuts as a sop to the rich, but the reality is that poverty and income inequality subsequently fell. “In the first three years of the Trump presidency, median household incomes grew, inequality diminished, and the poverty rate among Black people dropped below 20% for the first time since World War II,” the Journal reported last week. “The Black jobless rate went under 6% for the first time in records going back to 1972.”
Biden’s Progressive Agenda
The last thing Mr. Biden wants is a debate on the issues. He knows the progressive agenda—from a ban on fracking to elimination of private health insurance to packing the Supreme Court—is unpopular with most voters. Unfortunately for Republicans, Mr. Trump has spent much of the race obliging his opponent by running on character instead of substantive policy differences.
No matter how well Mr. Trump performs on Thursday night, it may be too little, too late.
The hopeful news for Trump supporters is that a lot can happen in the next two weeks, Mr. Riley points out:
Four years ago at this time, Hillary Clinton was leading by 6.8 points in national polls and eventually lost. Eight years earlier, Barack Obama was leading by a nearly identical 6.9 points and won.