Trump Delivers Unifying July 4 Message, But Few See It Helping Reelection

President Donald Trump was more a measured statesman than political streetfighter Thursday during his much-anticipated Independence Day address. But expectations are low that his patriotic — even, at times, unifying — message will boost his reelection odds.

Impressed early in his term as the guest of honor at France’s 2017 Bastille Day celebration, which featured an elaborate military parade, the U.S. commander in chief on Thursday deployed Air Force One, jets from the Air Force and Navy, helicopters from the Army and Marines — and even a Stealth Bomber — to the National Mall. And, in a speech that connected Thomas Jefferson with the Apollo crew that landed on the moon nearly 50 years ago, Trump struck a rare unifying tone.

Strategists from both parties say the president and his reelection campaign team are attempting to reconstruct the 2016 Electoral College map that put him in the White House. And several analysts contacted for this article agreed the Independence Day rally, with its heavy military presence, was yet another play to the conservative base that was the foundation of his 2016 win.

Ford O’Connell, a GOP strategist who communicates regularly with the White House, sees a “calculated” reelection strategy.

“The president is trying to make sure he has that base firmly in his camp,” said O’Connell, also an adjunct professor at the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management. Base-focused rallies and events could have another benefit, he said, by “demoralizing Democrats and depressing the other guy’s turnout.”

Read more from John T. Bennett at Roll Call


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Analysis & Political Strategy