— Narrative: First, the campaign intends to repackage Trump, within the narrow limits possible for a politician whose public image is already indelibly cast. The message: Sure, Trump is wild, but a disruptive character is precisely what’s needed to disrupt a failed status quo and force change. Second, the campaign will use its overwhelming financial advantage to repackage — i.e., viciously demolish — the public image of whoever becomes the Democratic nominee.
— Turnout: Trump aides assert they can outperform their polls in key states by 2 percentage points or more, on the strength of a voter ID, mobilization, and turnout operation that likely will be vastly better organized and staffed than what Democrats will be able to muster. Recall that in 2016, Trump lost the national popular vote to Hillary Clinton by three million votes; his team fully expects this dynamic could happen again, with an agitated and energized electorate they expect could grow by as much as 20 million people from the 138 million who turned out last election. But they correctly point to public polls that show he is fully competitive with prospective Democrats in the small number of states that will be essential to either side if the Electoral College landscape remains mostly as it was in 2016. Yes, Trump’s divisive personality means that a lot more Democrats will turn out to vote against him. But that divisive personality — combined with a superior digital strategy and a more robust volunteer network — means that the ranks of Trump voters in key states could grow by even more.
— Minority voters: Really? Yes, really. As Alex Isenstadt and Maya King wrote in POLITICO last week, Trump will use highly targeted advertising in key states combined with the presidential podium to tout how the robust economy has helped African Americans. If the notion provokes eye rolls — how does someone despised by Democrats more than any president in generations expect to cut into Democrats’ most loyal constituency? — recall that this strategy does not need to work a lot in order to be pivotal at the margins.