“We took a shellacking in the midterms,” said Dan Eberhart, a major Republican donor and energy company executive who did not attend the conference but speaks frequently with other Trump givers. “Donors are concerned that the Trump reelect might draw the wrong conclusions from the Republicans’ defeat in the 2018 midterms and are stressing to administration sources and the nascent campaign that a more inclusive … strategy is needed” that reaches beyond the president’s core supporters.
Trump’s strategy in the midterms was mostly confined to rallying his base at raucous rallies in states that backed him for president, while largely ignoring moderates and independents.
“There’s a lot of anxiety,” said a longtime Republican donor and friend of Trump. “There isn’t a lot of confidence … among the donor group, the broader Republican group important to the reelection.”
Trump’s 2016 anti-establishment campaign was fueled by small donors and his own personal fortune. This time he’s an incumbent taking a more traditional approach to his 2020 election.