Monday, August 10, 2020

Trump drops 2020 re-election campaign head as polls worsen

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced that his campaign manager, Brad Paracale, would be leaving his post as campaign manager for Trump’s re-election bid. Parscale will be replaced by Bill Stepien, a long time political operative who has worked for Republicans across the country.

In recent weeks, Parscale has come increasingly under fire for his management of the Trump Campaign. Many have criticized his targeting of certain states in the upcoming presidential election as illogical, as well as his oversight of Trump’s recent comeback rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Parscale’s demotion was announced on social media platforms, including Twitter, by the President on Wednesday night: “I am pleased to announce that Bill Stepien has been promoted to the role of Trump Campaign Manager. Brad Parscale, who has been with me for a very long time and has led our tremendous digital and data strategies, will remain in that role while being a Senior Advisor to the campaign.”

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Since he became the fifth campaign manager for Mr. Trump in 2018, Mr. Parscale has attempted many tactics to aid Trump in this November’s presidential election. Politico reported in February that Parscale informed a group of Senate Republicans that the Trump Campaign planned to attempt an expansion of the in-play electoral college map, aiming specifically for states like Minnesota and New Mexico. In the 2018 elections for United States Senate in these states, Democratic incumbents Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Martin Heinrich (N.M.) both won re-election by over 20% of the votes cast.

In the political world and beyond, the infectious spread of the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown wrenches in many plans for vacations, graduations, and (at least for Trump) re-election. According to a The Hill-Harris X poll conducted earlier this month, 58% of respondents disapproved of the President’s response to the pandemic, while polling aggregate FiveThirtyEight shows that is higher than the President’s overall disapproval of 55.7%. The same aggregator also shows Fmr. Vice President Joe Biden leading Trump in national polling by 9%.

Despite rising professional, medical, and economic concerns over the virus, Trump has continued to sidestep CDC advice on the pandemic, culminating in his June 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The rally, taking place in a coronavirus hot-spot, had Pascale claiming extremely high numbers of ticket requests for the rally- over 800,000. When the rally came, only about 6,000 people attended. Largely credited to users of the video-sharing app TikTok, the blunder is said to have cost Pascale points with Trump.

Pascale’s position only worsened after CBS News broke the story that he did not vote in 2016 for Donald Trump or any candidate. Parscale defended his electoral history deficiency, claiming his position and work within the Trump Campaign prevented him from easily obtaining an absentee ballot.

All in all, Brad Parscale is out as Trump’s campaign manager. With under four months until the election, Trump has promoted Bill Stepien to the role of campaign manager. Stepien has been with the Trump Campaign since January 2017, near Trump’s inauguration. Before working for the Trump Campaign, Stepien had a long history of operating in Republican politics, helping run the presidential campaigns of Sen. John McCain and Mayor Rudy Giuliani in 2008. Later, he worked for the gubernatorial campaigns of New Jersey’s Chris Christie, facing potential legal trouble over Christie’s “Bridgegate” scandal. He has remained largely unscathed.

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From outward appearance, Trump’s re-election is in dire need of revitalizing. His first major campaign rally in months had very low attendance. His polling numbers against his opponent are abysmal. His public approval ratings on his handling of the coronavirus are minimal. President Trump and his campaign staff see this, and, hence, have shuffled around top leadership. The question of whether this will work is unanswered and will remain as such until November. The only respondents who may answer the question are the American people.

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