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Enthusiasm Matters!

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In politics, just as in sports, unforced errors are expensive. The Biden side, desperate to gain traction against Trump, has thrown the kitchen sink at him, using all the levers of federal, state, county, and local governments. But nothing appears to be sticking. If anything, the efforts are backfiring profusely and have mounted the unforced error count on the Biden side.

Meanwhile, the 2024 avatar of Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for the presidency, has run as near a flawless campaign as possible. It is helping him widen and solidify leads in the battleground states and has perplexed his arch-opponent’s well-financed campaign. The election is still six months away, and unless a miracle occurs, we’re now looking at a landslide victory for Trump.

In Deep Blue New Jersey, which is viewing a spectacle as its senior senator Robert Menendez faces a federal corruption trial, Trump held a massive rally. Crowds had packed the beach arena in Wildwood for hours before Trump arrived. “I almost couldn’t get here because the traffic was so thick walking from North Wildwood to here,” said Denise Keegan, who traveled from National Park, New Jersey.

According to a Wildwood representative, 80,000–100,000 individuals attended the rally, more than double the estimated attendance. Make no mistake. It is a reflection of enthusiasm, and it matters. Recall that in 2016, the corporate media, in denial, talked down Trump rallies, only to admit their failure to recognize the enthusiasm in their postmortem. The TIPP Poll was one of the two polls that called for Trump’s victory in 2016. In an interview with Fox News, our lead pollster, Raghavan Mayur, observed:

Since Sept. 1, the number of Republicans [in the poll sample] was much higher than the number of Democrats. It was a new phenomenon in the data [and] I was not sure what is happening here.

Day after day, I was weighing down Republicans until the final four or five days [of the race]. “What I am seeing is … a good amount of enthusiasm … so I was going to predict who would show up.

Polling is as much an art as science,” said IBD Commentary Editor Terry Jones in the Fox News story:

It requires judgement … [Mayur] sort of sensed this move and our polling responded to great enthusiasm.

If you turn [voters] out, you’ll get them enthused, and last night we saw that.

Recent data reflects the enthusiasm for Trump. For example, in a TIPP Poll completed early this month, Trump had a stronger intensity of support (64%) among his supporters than either of his two rivals (Biden, 54%, or RFK Jr., 38%), which can give him a solid edge in his last-minute “get-out-the-vote” efforts in the closing weeks of the campaign.

Enthusiasm Matters!

The media never learns, so don’t expect them to act differently in 2024. They would rather remain trapped in their enthusiasm to support the Democrats’ fervent lawfare against Trump.

Getting on stage, Trump referred to the Alvin Bragg “hush money” case in Manhattan as “a sham” run by a “corrupt” and “highly conflicted” judge. The crowd roared in approval. They had seen the nonstop coverage on CNN and MSNBC, with legal analysts dissecting every witness or attorney statement and some declaring that the trial was weak.

Nearly three weeks into the trial, no one knows what crime Trump is being charged with, so Trump’s characterization of the proceedings as a “sham” met with many heads nodding in agreement. The prosecutors say that Trump engaged in a “criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election,” a bizarre extension of a payment to a porn star to avoid embarrassment. As Jed Handelsman Shugerman, a law professor at Boston University, said in the New York Times: “It is legal for a candidate to pay for a nondisclosure agreement. Hush money is unseemly, but it is legal.” So, what precisely is Trump’s crime?

Meanwhile, Trump, who has always believed that there is no such thing as negative publicity, has basked in glee knowing that he is getting all the air time. To take jabs at the prosecutors and the judge—something he has been restricted from doing because of the gag orders—he has brought political supporters to the courthouse front yard to do the dirty work.

Every potential VP pick is doing the honors by being the attack dog in front of TV cameras, a role traditionally reserved for running mates on the presidential ticket. The list has included Republican Sens. J.D. Vance and Tommy Tuberville, former Republican challenger Vivek Ramaswamy, and Florida GOP Sen. Rick Scott.  It is another clever move by Trump to publicly audition candidates and make them commit their loyalty to him.

Vance spoke about Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer, who testified on Monday and is the prosecution’s key witness. “This guy is a convicted felon,” Vance said about Cohen outside the Manhattan courthouse. “Does any reasonable, sensible person believe anything that Michael Cohen says? The thing that the president is prevented from saying, which is a disgrace, is that every single person involved in this prosecution is practically a Democratic political operative!” Trump frequently returned to this theme in his Wildwood speech—that President Biden has been directing all of the lawfare against him.

Trump’s campaign has been brilliant at managing attention, with cameras following him all over New York City. The other day, Trump bought ice cream at a store, to the delight of everyone there. The contrasting images were from President Biden doing the same at a store in Philadelphia—but to anyone observing, the Biden visit appeared too plastic and stage-managed. A natural with men and women in uniform, Trump brought in pizza boxes for New York City firefighters. It was a hit, and MSNBC and CNN anchors hated it.

Trump is also winning points in his other trials as his prosecutors encounter several challenges. To be sure, these victories are not of Trump’s making, but they represent unforced errors by aggressive prosecutors with numerous skeletons in their closets.

As Politico and the BBC reported, prosecutors are finding that bringing groundbreaking criminal charges against a former president is more straightforward than getting them to trial. Trump has benefited from a series of postponements. After delays in Georgia and Florida, the most likely scenario for 2024 is that the only trial that Trump will face before the election is the hush money case in Manhattan, which many lawyers consider the least serious of the four, both in terms of the severity of the alleged wrongdoing and the prospect of prison time.

In 2024, Trump has become the epitome of discipline. While his speeches at his rallies are long-winded and loved because of all the usual jabs he incorporates into them, they are no longer focused only on his grievances. Trump is measured on Truth Social and has refused to return to X (the former Twitter), which defined his presidency.

Even better, Trump is not the incumbent defending his policies, such as his tax cuts or handling of Covid-19. Trump is the outsider looking to dislodge an incompetent incumbent by focusing on Biden’s failures. And there’s so much that Trump talks about Biden in his public appearances – Biden’s handling of the Israel crisis, Ukraine, Iran, the student protesters on college campuses, the open borders, violence, taxes, spending, inflation, and the economy – to which crowds can relate. Indeed, based on the results from a nationwide TIPP Poll that surveyed 1,435 Americans from May 1 to May 3, we reported that Biden consistently scored a D. This is no grade on which to run a reelection campaign. Fewer than 30% give the President favorable grades on all ten issues TIPP Poll tracks.

In the latest RealClearPolitics polling averages in the battleground states, Trump is leading Biden in Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Nevada by margins far bigger than Biden’s victories in those states in 2020. For example, Trump’s current polling lead in Arizona is 5.2%. Biden won Arizona by only 0.4% in 2020. In Nevada, Trump’s lead is 6.2%. Biden won Nevada by 3.2% in 2020.

If Trump’s leads hold six months from now, he will return to the White House. And the brilliant way Trump is campaigning, it is increasingly likely that he will do precisely that.

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Republished with permission from TIPP Insights