Trump Seeks To Define 2020 Race While Dems Fight Among Themselves

President Donald Trump officially launches his 2020 re-election campaign Tuesday with a rally in Orlando aimed at energizing his base, but his appeals to his supporters could also remind Democrats and moderates why they have favored his possible opponents in most polls conducted so far.

Supporters began lining up early Monday morning outside the Amway Center for the president’s 8 p.m. Tuesday event. The arena holds 20,000 people, and the Trump campaign says 100,000 requested tickets. The campaign plans to set up screens for fans tailgating outside.

According to Republican strategist Ford O’Connell, the president’s goal will be to remind supporters what is at stake and focus them for the first time squarely on re-electing him, and the location he chose to do it is no accident.

“A lot of this is to basically give the base a spark but also make the case that if we don’t win Florida, it’s very hard to win re-election,” O’Connell said.

Several recent polls suggest Trump may need to find some way to speak to that wider audience to win. A Fox News poll conducted last week found former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris, and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg all beat Trump head-to-head among registered voters, with the president topping out at 41% of the vote.

“He’s going to have to explain and define the Democratic field before the Democrats have a nomination,” O’Connell said, noting the strategy worked effectively for President Barack Obama against 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

The Trump campaign recognizes that too, which is why it is working to shore up support in places like Florida from the start. Beyond the economy, the president has incumbency and historical headwinds on his side, and he has far more resources to turn around his disappointing early poll numbers than he did the first time around.

“In 2016, the campaign was really fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants,” O’Connell said. “This time, it’s a well-oiled machine relative, to what it was.”

Read more from Stephen Loiaconi at ABC 6

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Analysis & Political Strategy