A working group of top aides spent the last several weeks reviewing proposals attempting to answer that very question. They’ve discussed ideas to lower capital gains and income taxes, adopt new immigration measures, strike new trade deals and ax additional regulations. And on Thursday, the president is likely to speak about these ideas and more during his convention speech as he tries to draw a sharp contrast with the agenda of former Vice President Joe Biden. On Sunday night, the campaign released the broad outlines of its second-term goals — eradicating Covid-19, creating jobs, ending America’s reliance on China, cutting drug prices, expanding school choice and defending the police — and promised to tease them out further over the next week.
Senior administration officials concede the second-term agenda will lean more toward pledges to continue Trump hallmarks than it will toward presenting entirely new ideas, creating a high-wire act for a president trying to both appeal to his base’s long-favored themes while also responding to criticism from within his own party. Looming over his speech is the pandemic and the way it has upended life and decimated the economy — Trump frequently boasts that he can resurrect America’s finances but is evasive about the rising coronavirus caseload, insisting Americans should start to resume their lives.
“No president is reelected on the basis of saying, ‘I’ve done a good job. Reelect me,’” said Karl Rove said, a former senior adviser to President George W. Bush. “They have to say, ‘I’ve got a second act in me.’”