Firehouse Partner Alex Contant Talks to The Wall Street Journal About What to Expect from the Presidential Campaign Post-Conventions

August 31, 2020

With Virtual Conventions Over, Unconventional Campaign Revs Up

Voters had a preview of each campaign’s closing arguments: Law and order from President Trump; leadership out of crisis from Joe Biden.

A faint echo of the raucous stadium gatherings political parties typically hold every four years, the diminished conventions both drew smaller TV audiences than four years ago. But they served as a preview of each campaign’s closing arguments: An emphasis on law and order from Mr. Trump, and a promise of stable leadership out of crisis from Mr. Biden.

“The real question becomes how much media coverage they were able to generate,” said Republican strategist Alex Conant. “You don’t have local TV reporters from around the country going to conventions that they normally would. My guess is they were less effective than usual.”

With the conventions done, the next big set piece of the race will be the debates, which begin in late September. The Trump campaign has been eager to face off, believing it will provide a strong contrast. The Biden team has also said it will take part, dismissing some who have questioned whether there should be any debates.

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A key question for Mr. Trump is whether his message of economic experience and law and order in the face of unrest in places such as Portland, Ore., and Kenosha, Wis., resonates with enough of the independent voters, women and minorities who have turned away from him during a presidency that has been marked by unpredictability and controversy.

“Right now, Trump is underperforming because of independents and suburban voters who supported him in 2016 who aren’t supporting him right now,” Mr. Conant said. “Many of those voters will come home as these messages sink in.”

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Read the full article here.