“The fatal flaw” in Trump’s strategy, said Guy Cecil, chairman of Priorities USA, a Democratic super PAC, “is that one, it motivates our side and two, it makes the assumption that all previous Trump voters are still voting Republican, which especially in House and governor races, we see is not the case.”
Trump advisers have repeatedly told the president that simply touting his accomplishments will not drive midterm turnout and that he needs to continue to position himself as the counterweight to a liberal Democratic “mob” threatening his achievements, people close to him said. They have also stressed that the unlikely coalition of voters who helped lift him to victory in 2016 may not be as motivated to vote in off-year elections, especially for Republicans who don’t share his unconventional style.
The president, meanwhile, has told White House aides that his supporters won’t come out to the polls if they don’t believe the election matters to him, two advisers added.
“He’s basically internalized the message that, ‘I’m so important that people aren’t going to go out and vote unless it’s all about me,’” said a former White House aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity to share candid conversations.