Trump Campaign Strategy
The general election remains one of the most competitive campaigns and requires both the candidates and the supporters to come up with viable strategies in order to win the support of the electorate. With the known results of primaries and the outcome of the conventions almost certain, the goal of each presidential candidate is to appeal to the hundreds of millions of eligible voters for their support in the presidential campaign. Convincing the majority of independently thinking citizens to support a particular candidate requires having a comprehensive strategy that would be more effective than the strategies of a candidate’s opponents. This stage of the electoral campaign requires the campaign organizations and the candidates to make several important strategic decisions. The most daunting challenge at such a time relates to how to refine the primary message in order to make it resonate with the majority of the USA population. This may involve improvements of the campaign slogans, as witnessed for example in the change of Donald Trump’s primary slogan from “make American great again” to “make America great again for everybody”. Moreover, shifting to the center requires the candidates to devise plans that would simultaneously not offend the primary supporters and also win the votes of those who have yet to decide for whom to vote, and where possible to encroach on the opponents’ strongholds. The essay contains a strategic plan that the Republican presidential candidate nominee could implement in order to ensure a successful race for the White House.
Currently, Donald Trump’s ratings are on the rise. People are getting more and more open to the idea of Trump’s presidency (Jackson, 2016). Just like with polls at the beginning of the Republican primaries, some analysts are downplaying the long-term chance of Trump’s ability to win the presidential election. Although some people prefer not to trust the numbers from the polls, historical evidence demonstrates that the polls are rarely wrong in predicting the outcome of a presidential competition. As a matter of facts, citizens who lean towards the Republican Party are likely to support Trump all the way to the end of the election, while those who lean towards Democratic Party will likely vote for Clinton (Jackson, 2016). In such a case, the winner will be determined by a few states and the effectiveness of the adopted strategy. However, the fractured Republican Party narrative will not work well in Trump’s favor. The majority of the influential Republican political figures have been very reluctant in publicly endorsing Trump’s candidacy. An unusual candidacy, especially due to lack of political experience and the untamed inflammatory rhetoric, seem to make some of the party’s elite skeptical (Jackson, 2016). Although voters have refused to pay much attention to the key party leaders who are unwilling to support Trump, a sustained narrative of a divided Republican Party will likely make the voters shift their position. Thus, a solid uniform support from the party is what Trump needs.
Vision and Mission
Just like in any form of a competition, the initial step to winning the presidential election requires complete support, especially from the two largest political parties. Infighting within the party only creates an advantage for the opponent by providing them with a safe ground to launch their offensive strategies (Faucheux, 2003). Thus, Trump and the rest of the campaign team must make it a priority to unite the Republican Party by directly addressing the common fears that some of the party leaders have expressed. A solidified Republic Party will not only make Trump a candidate who is hard to defeat but will also increase the chances of the Party to win majority seats in the Congress. The mission of the presidential election team should be to win the support of other candidates who dropped out of the race and, most importantly, the support of the House Speaker. Where the backing proves to be impossible, the team should negotiate a deal so that the high-rank leaders within the party will refrain from actively opposing Trump’s candidacy. Similarly, between now and the time of the election, the campaign secretariat must dispel the popular notion that Trump is a racist who has dangerous religious biases. Overcoming such obstacles will create a healthy competitive environment for the candidate to narrow down the core competencies of the opponent’s policies.
Although Clinton and Trump seem to be the only choices from which the American public will pick the next president, there is a theoretical possibility that an entirely different candidate can join the race and take the White House. The assumption that has been made by both candidates is that there will not be a strong third party candidate. Strong third party candidate might drastically shift the political dynamics, considering they will pull support of the people from both the Democrat and the Republican bases (Jackson, 2016). Nevertheless, the effect of the third party candidate is expected to impact both sides evenly, taking into account that the former secretary of state has little favor from the electorate. Some have even described the current Trump versus Clinton presidential campaign as a choice between two bad options. Besides, the Republican Party label seems to have served Trump well so far just as the affiliation with the Democrat Party has served Clinton. The party provides the candidate with enough background states to clinch the presidency. Although the best way to win is to win without any fighting, the presidential election cannot be won without a fight (Faucheux, 2003). Moreover, the best strategy for winning a battle starts with an objective analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Trump’s obvious strengths are the cachet of wealth, ability to think on his feet, his fame, and outsider credibility. The sharp tongue coupled with the lack of prior political association has helped him win the Republican Party nomination and may put the candidate into the White House. Although many people claim that Trump lacks the experience to run the nation, there is a counter argument that the executive experience associated with the ability to build and operate a multi-billion empire seems to be a good enough evidence for the majority of the voters. Electorates appear to be turned off by the political language employed by many career politicians, preferring someone with no prior political affiliation.
Trump’s bluntness, especially in his speech, comes out as strength and as a weakness at the same time. Polarizing the electorate through speeches gives the candidate a negative impact, but at the same time attracts inordinate support from those people who share similar concrete opinions. Thus, statements made regarding religion and race have dented the candidacy and should be remedied in the period between now and the election day, bearing in mind the significance of the affected groups’ votes. Nevertheless, the party can overcome such claims, considering most of the stated issues are being accentuated and perpetrated by the media.
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Trump’s key opportunity involves waging a “war of attrition” against Clinton’s track record on policies. Although the track record is not that impressive, a convincing attrition, especially of the foreign policies proposed by the side of the Democratic Party, will make the race for the White House much clearer. Painting the Democratic Party candidate as the Washington insider, whose claimed experience has done nothing more than failing the country will utilize Trump’s lack of political history. Similarly, Trump has an opportunity of nominating a female running mate with the aim to match Clinton’s advantage of representing female interests. Such a move would also erode the view that Trump has little respect for women.
One of Trump’s biggest threats is that his person and business empire will come under strict scrutiny from the public and Democratic Party. Such high profile and intentional spotlight may reveal some documents and information with a devastating impact to Trump’s presidential campaign. Any documents or statements of this sort, which would have little impact otherwise, have the potential to cause a significant shift in voters’ preferences. On the other hand, a backfired attempt, especially on the line of digging dirt, works well for the candidate as the perceived weakness will turn into a needed strength.
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Trump has several alternatives when it comes to campaign strategies that could help to maximize the benefits from the stated strengths and opportunities and at the same time minimize the risks from weakness and threats. The acquisition forms one of the most potent strategies that Trump and the campaign team should consider. Two of the major issues that the candidate needs to overcome in order to sustain and grow the momentum gained in the primaries are the narratives of a divided Republican Party and the relatively small support from women. Fortunately, acquisition strategy will help in increasing the candidacy power as well as overcome the barrier of entry to into the support from women’s electorate (Hitt, Ireland, & Hoskisson, 2007). Trump has been widely criticized because of his lack of political experience. The nomination for the post of the vice president provides the presidential candidate with an opportunity to remedy that perceived weakness by selecting an individual with excellent political experience. The preferred candidate should have the ability to solidify the support of the entire Republican Party. At the same time, nomination of the vice president should take into account the female electorate who currently appear to favor Clinton. Appointing a strong woman capable of making a significant influence on the support from the women votes will reduce the advantage of the primary opponent in the presidential race. At the same time, such a move will bring to an end the common claims that Trump has a low opinion of women hence reducing the effect of one of the Trump’s perceived weakness. Although integrating the two into one maybe one of the greatest challenges with the strategy; the success of the approach would reduce the time and cost of solidifying the party support and gaining a good entry into the female electorate.
The second alternative involves establishing a solid defense against the likely attacks from the Democratic Party and as a result of a divided Republican Party. Assessment of all possible Trump’s weaknesses and lines of attack on the persona and the business empire will help the campaign team prepare a defense in advance. Although Trump is hailed for his ability to think on his feet, some possible attacks require strategy and prior preparation (Hitt, Ireland, & Hoskisson, 2007). Besides, once the perceived weak spots are identified, the team should formulate the least impactful weaknesses and offer them as bait to the possible attackers. Backfired weakness exploitation will make any future attempt less impactful.
Lastly, the candidate will regularly need to launch a speedy and timely offensive on Clinton, both based on the nominee character and her proposed policies. Fortunately, Trump has not been in the government while Clinton on the other hand has been substantially involved in the system both as the first lady and as the Secretary of State. Capitalizing on the mistakes made by Clinton when serving in these positions will help in discrediting the policies that she proposes for the presidency. Furthermore, the moment the electorate starts thinking of Clinton as crooked, they will find it difficult to trust the Democratic Party proposals, especially in line with the policies. Moreover, policies are some of Trump’s opponent’s perceived strengths.
The strategies should be implemented in the order that they are listed. The implementation phase of the strategies will require a consideration of the three campaign fronts. The party members, campaign delegates, and volunteers will have to interact directly with the voters at the grassroots level with the intention of dismantling the common “Trump phobia”, especially with people of color and the Muslim community. The candidate and the vice president nominee will back the grassroots efforts by communicating a similar message through speeches and physical appearances around the whole country. Other Republican Party members also need to actively advertise the party candidate to the voters. Lastly, advertisement both on the radio and television are the last front on which to engage with the electorate. The platform provides massive exposure that cannot be gained through physical appearance. Trump and the team must ensure that the exposure is not harmful.