If Trump is going to “thread the needle” as he did in 2016, Miringoff said, “any division to create just a wrinkle in the data, a crease in the data, is desirable for him … So he’s playing the cards he’s dealt, and that is, he’s not likely to get a majority, try to keep the Democratic enthusiasm down and get Biden into the mix, and hopefully don’t do it in a way that arouses Democratic sentiment any more than it already needs to be.”

The president’s tweets and public statements are just one aspect of the effort to foment Democratic unrest. His campaign ran ads on Facebook inviting Sanders supporters “feeling berned” to instead “join the winning team.” GOP allies have long been pitching narratives about divisions within the Democratic Party to left-leaning media outlets.

“We do that stuff constantly,” said one Trump ally involved in the effort, describing a bid to “get behind enemy lines” to sow distrust among Democrats in Biden and the Democratic National Committee.