The New York Times reporter Peter Baker argues that Donald Trump has adopted an ad hoc and opportunistic strategy for shoring up the Republican Party during the midterms. Instead of finding a strong message and sticking to it, the president has been in an inventive mode, trying an array of ideas in the hopes that they will spark enthusiasm among the Republican base. “In the last days before a midterm congressional election that will determine the future of his presidency, Mr. Trump seems to be throwing almost anything he can think of against the wall to see what might stick, no matter how untethered from political or legal reality,” Baker notes. “Frustrated that other topics — like last week’s spate of mail bombs — came to dominate the news, the president has sought to seize back the national stage in the last stretch of the campaign.”
Over the last week, Trump has talked about a middle class tax cut, has ordered troops to the border to stop the hyped threat of asylum seekers coming in a caravan, and has promised to use his executive order to end birthright citizenship. These ideas are pouring out of the White House willy-nilly and without preparation, often taking Republicans by surprise.
As Baker notes, “Within hours of his promise to end birthright citizenship, some Republicans were denouncing the idea or distancing themselves from it.”
On Tuesday, Republican congressman Ryan Costello tweeted:
Even as Trump tries to rile up the Republican base, something he is singularly talented at, he risks dividing the party since not every Republican wants to run on the policies he’s offering. Trump’s impromptu campaigning also runs the risk of alienating those outside the Republican base.