AMES, Iowa – Donald Trump is expected to secure his party’s nomination this week at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. David Andersen, an assistant professor of political science at Iowa State University, outlines the Top 5 things Trump needs to do to win the general election in November.
(Andersen will give his Top 5 for Hillary Clinton at the start of the Democratic National Convention.)
- Be competitive in Florida: Watch the video above to see why Andersen says Florida is key to this election, and critical for Trump to demonstrate that he understands the difficult math behind the Electoral College.
- Transfer campaign operations to RNC: “This could be an incredibly smart strategy for Trump, who is light years behind Hillary Clinton in building a campaign apparatus. Campaigns are about messaging, but also about turning out voters on Election Day. Trump has said he’s not doing data analytics, and he doesn’t have a ‘Get Out the Vote’ operation. Completely outsourcing these things to the RNC is a campaign innovation that’s going to pressure the party to take over some of these behind-the-scene responsibilities, which it should do. There are real strategic advantages. This year, major supporters who don’t want to back Trump, but still want to support Republicans can give money directly to the party, which can then work to help elect Republicans in other key races. If the RNC can turn out traditional Republicans, while Trump creates new Republicans, Hillary could be in serious trouble.”
- Split party base with populist appeal: “Trump is gaining a lot of attention because he’s the first new Republican since Ronald Reagan. Every candidate since Reagan has run on his 1980 platform. As a result, the Republican base has shrunk. Trump has a populist message that has the potential to grow the party. Granted, it may also make some current Republicans unhappy, but there is very little chance that they are going to be so unhappy as to vote for Hillary instead. This is one of Trump’s strengths and may help him steal some Democrats, some Independents and give him a chance to reshape the electorate.”
- Assemble a cabinet of experts: “As an outsider, Trump needs to show America that he is assembling a group of experts ready to advise him on areas in which he may be weak. Good leaders surround themselves with good support, and this is an opportunity for Trump to demonstrate his ability to select key advisers. To really be effective, he should consider some Democrats to demonstrate he’s above partisanship. If Trump can make it look like he’s moved past the parties, he’s going to win votes.”
- Remain nontraditional: “Trump is breaking the mold and should continue to deliver the unexpected. He needs to throw out the traditional campaign playbook of running TV ads in battleground states, going negative against his opponent and stumping on core Republican issues. He needs to remain innovative. The more he does this, the more he looks like an outsider, and that’s what a lot of Americans want right now – they don’t want politics as usual. This will drive every pundit crazy, but it’s a smart strategy for Trump.”