Trump Campaign Shifts Gears To Focus On Supreme Court Seat

The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has jolted the Trump campaign, offering the president a new message to seize on in the final weeks of his reelection pursuit.

For months, the focus of the 2020 campaign has been on the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed 200,000 people in the U.S., and the resulting recession that has put millions out of work. But Trump allies see the new Supreme Court vacancy as a way to rally conservatives who may have been wavering and give Trump a new issue to hammer home in the closing weeks.

Trump basked in the opportunity to appoint a third Supreme Court justice with supporters at a rally over the weekend in the swing state of North Carolina, musing about printing T-shirts that read “Fill that seat” and polling the crowd on whether to pick a man or a woman.

Ford O’Connell, a Florida-based Republican strategist, argued that the nomination process could help win over Republicans who might not otherwise favor his reelection.

“Republicans may agree or disagree about candidates, the one thing they seem to walk in lock step about is the judiciary,” O’Connell said.

“With evangelical voters, particularly in the Upper Midwest, that is entirely important in terms of maximizing our turnout there,” O’Connell said.

Read more from Morgan Chalfant and Brett Samuels at The Hill

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Ford O'Connell To Newsmax TV: SCOTUS Appointment Top Election Issue

The fight over filling the Supreme Court vacancy will become "the top issue of the 2020 election," according to GOP strategist and lawyer Ford O'Connell on Newsmax TV.

O'Connell said it is important to have nine justices on the bench because the "Democrats have already said they're going to challenge the election results if Donald Trump wins."

He said if there is a challenge on election results that winds up at the Supreme Court for a decision, "you need to have nine justices on there."

He ripped Democrats who are threatening to pack the courts and even impeach Trump for selecting a justice ahead of the election.

"They never accepted the 2016 election results," he said of the Democrats, adding they are "resorting to extortion" to change the rules.

Watch the video and read more from Marisa Herman at Newsmax

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As Trump Campaigns, Senate Prepares For Battle Over Ginsburg Vacancy

This means war.

With the presidential election only 44 days away, the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has shaken the race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden — along with 33 U.S. Senate battles across the country — to the core.

A new Trump-nominated justice would cement a commanding conservative majority for the first time since the 1960s, a long-sought goal of the right that would have far-reaching effects on questions of abortion, religious freedom, gun rights, and more.

“You don’t want to go into a potential fight over election rules with only eight justices who could deadlock in a 4-4 tie,” said GOP analyst Ford O’Connell. “You want nine. If that doesn’t happen, the Republicans will have only themselves to blame.”

Read more from Jon Levine and Mary Kay Linge at the New York Post

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Trump And GOP Struggle To Define Kamala Harris As The Radical Running Mate

Kamala Harris has proven a trickier-than-expected target for Republicans trying to define the Democratic ticket ahead of November’s election, even as she and Joe Biden have recently seemed confused about which of them is leading the ticket.

The Californian Biden tapped as his running mate was once rated the most liberal senator— “She is even to the left of Socialist Bernie Sanders,” a Republican National Committee statement said last month — and Democratic primary voters quickly soured on her presidential campaign earlier this year. This would seem to be fertile ground for attack ads or opposition researchers.

“There is no question about it, Sen. Kamala Harris is the weaker link of the Biden-Harris ticket, and the Biden campaign recognizes it too,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “It is why Harris has been used sparingly on the campaign trail outside of Democrat strongholds. She has not shown a disciplined willingness to stick to the script and sing from the same hymnbook as Biden.”

O’Connell acknowledged Trump’s case against Harris got lost in the summer headlines and that there might not be enough time to define her for battleground state voters now.

“Instead, the Trump campaign is going to drive home their primary strengths — the economy and law and order, and if they can weave Kamala into that equation they will, particularly her command and control economic views, her sympathy for rioters — including attempts to bail them out of jail — and her claim that the lawlessness is ‘not gonna stop after Election Day," he said. “When it comes to specifically defining Harris, the Trump campaign’s ace in the hole will be Mike Pence in the vice presidential debates, and his goal will be to highlight Biden’s incompetency for picking Harris in the first place.”

Read more from W. James Antle III at the Washington Examiner

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Lyft's Urban Voter-Turnout Plan In 5 Battleground States Sparks Conservative Outrage

Ride-sharing company Lyft’s new turn-out-the vote effort in cities in five battleground states has sparked outrage from conservatives who think it is a ploy to help Democrats win in November. 

Lyft has formed a partnership with More Than A Vote, an advocacy group led by Black athletes including basketball player LeBron James, to provide free and discounted rides to polling locations in major cities in five key battlegrounds: Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina and Wisconsin.

Lyft did not answer a question about whether it would provide comparable ride-sharing transportation to rural voters as it plans to do for urban voters in the five cities targeted by More Than A Vote.

Republican strategist Ford O’Connell, who formerly ran for Congress in Florida, said Thursday he thought Democrats may undermine Lyft’s voter-turnout efforts by their vocal push for mail-in ballots that have created fear about in-person voting.

“Normally, I would be extremely concerned about this because it’s geared toward almost exclusively turning out Democratic votes. That said, Democrats have turned away the vast majority of their voters from in-person voting,” Mr. O’Connell said. “They’ve scared [voters], but at the same time, it is a weapon in their arsenal. The only question is whether they choose to promote it.”

Read more from Ryan Lovelace at The Washington Times

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Ballooning Ranks Of Uninsured Endanger GOP Health-Care Message

The number of Americans without health insurance has grown steadily under the Trump administration and it’s creating headaches for Republicans who once championed efforts to roll back Obamacare.

Republican leaders Tuesday unveiled a policy platform centered around defeating the coronavirus and improving the economy, with no mention of their long-time pledge to roll back the Affordable Care Act. Democrats, in contrast, are sticking with the message that won them a House majority in 2018: a promise to extend health-insurance coverage to more Americans through the ACA.

Health-care politics this year is almost a polar opposite of 2016, when the U.S. hit an all-time low in the number of people without insurance coverage. Democrats are hoping this shift will win over voters uneasy about being able to afford health care.

These ads are meant to tell voters they can keep the parts of Obamacare they like and also get something less expensive under Republican policies, Ford O’Connell, a GOP strategist who served as an adviser on the late Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential bid, said.

“Most voters don’t know what Obamacare entails but they know its most-popular provision, which is preexisting conditions,” O’Connell said.

Read more from Alex Ruoff at Bloomberg Government

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The Memo: Trump Needs More Than His Base

President Trump’s base of support is famously resilient. But it likely isn’t big enough to win him a second term.

Trump has spent much of the campaign offering up his greatest hits to supporters, including blasts at the media and his opponent Joe Biden, threats that the “radical left” will bring mayhem if Democrats win the White House and vigorous affirmations of the need for “law and order.”

Crowds at Trump’s rallies lap it all up. But it is a different story in the nation at large.

A shift toward the economy, in particular, could help his cause.

“His strongest argument is, who would you rather have rebuild the economy — myself or Joe Biden?” said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell.

O’Connell also contended that the media are prone to exaggerate the likely electoral effects of many of the furors that swirl around Trump.

“When it comes to partisans, I don’t think it is going to matter very much,” O’Connell argued. “The very narrow band of people who are going to decide this election are either going to decide they don’t like everything about Trump but they feel he delivers, or they are going to think Joe Biden is not someone who I want.”

Read more from Niall Stanage at The Hill

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Trump Has The Momentum As Biden Looks Rattled

After a dismal June and July, President Trump found his campaign sea legs in mid-August. The political winds are now trending in Trump’s favor, and the polls are tightening to the president’s benefit in a handful of battleground states that will decide this election.

Don’t tell that to the Democrats and Biden campaign surrogates and those masquerading as political journalists who want to convince you that the race is over and has been for some time. Trump supporters and Republican-leaning voters shouldn’t fall for the doom-and-gloom poison being churned out by the national media daily. There are plenty of indicators that Trump can and will win in November.

Aside from the historical models and economic indicators that suggest a Trump Electoral College win is all but a slam-dunk, as outlined by Ned Ryun at American Greatness, there are fresh battleground-state polls that reinforce Trump’s momentum.

Due in part to the coronavirus unleashed on the world by China, Trump had been trailing Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in many of the battleground states for a good chunk of the year. That is no longer the case in Florida, where the race is tied, according to NBC. The same goes for North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin, and even Pennsylvania, which all show Trump surging and the trend lines moving in his direction.

If you are someone who doesn’t put much stock in historical models or economic indicators, or you decide not to this year because we are in an unprecedented election environment, and you don’t give much credence to state surveys because of the 2016 polling fiasco, I would turn your attention to the recent actions of the Biden campaign because those are the most telling.

Read more from Ford O'Connell at the Washington Examiner

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Trump Courts Florida Voters With Moratorium On Offshore Drilling

President Trump this week extended and expanded a moratorium on drilling off Florida’s coast in an attempt to court voters in a must-win battleground state.

In making the announcement that he would block drilling in coastal Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, the president sought to paint himself as an environmentalist despite repeated efforts to roll back Obama-era protections.

“What he’s making a play for is to recapture many of the suburbanite and college-educated voters in Florida that this is a key issue to,” said Florida-based Republican strategist Ford O’Connell.

“What Trump is signaling in Florida is that ‘I understand your concerns about water quality,’ and for Floridians clean water means a healthy and prosperous economy, particularly because of tourism,” he said, adding that “in Florida, prior to COVID[-19], this was one of the biggest issues out there.”

Read more from Rachel Frazin at The Hill

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Trump Strategy Is To Label Biden A 'Socialist.' Will It Work In Florida?

President Donald Trump has a clear message for voters in November: a vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is a vote for the “radical far-left,” “anarchy” and inevitable "socialism." 

Trump has repeatedly called Biden a “puppet” for the “socialist” agenda of Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nancy Pelosi. In fact, Trump has tossed around the term socialism so much that it can be difficult to find a rallying cry from his base that does not seize on it.

Florida-based Republican strategist and former presidential campaign operative Ford O’Connell said it's rooted in a common and effective strategy: Define your opponent as something voters are against.

In Florida, that something is socialism.

“I think that is a good strategy,” O'Connell said. “A lot of people know ofJoe Biden, but they don't know Joe Biden. They know he was Barack Obama’s vice president, but they don’t know what he stands for or everything else.”

In Florida, O’Connell said, you can chalk up that strategy to two things: seniors and Hispanics. 

“They have a very different view of socialism than those under 40,” he said of Florida's legions of retiree voters. “And then you have the Cubans and Venezuelans — to them, socialism is what they just escaped from.”

Read more from Wendy Rhodes at The Palm Beach Post

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