To be successful, this ‘thread the needle’ re-election strategy required four main elements:
1. A united, enthusiastic and engaged GOP base
2. A deeply flawed opponent
3. Decent support among independent voters (Even as Trump ran up the score among his base in 2016, he also carried independent voters by 2-points.)
4. Third-party candidates siphoning off enough votes to allow Trump to win key states with a plurality as he did in 2016
Oh, and of course, it would also help to have a good economy, and not have a majority of Americans think that you have mismanaged a major health crisis.
Right now, only #1 is there for him. Even that rock-solid support from his base is looking shaky in the wake of his disastrous debate performance and COVID diagnosis.