Kristen Soltis Anderson, a Republican pollster and moderator of the New York Times Opinion focus group series, took a usual look at the 2016 presidential race vs the 2024 one in progress.
Below are excerpts from Ms. Anderson piece “How Trump is Running Differently This Time.”
“And though Mr. Trump may seem a poor fit for such a moment, with his endless drama and ugly remarks, much of his candidacy and message so far is aimed at arguing that he can restore a prepandemic order and a sense of security in an unstable world. And unlike 2020, there’s no guarantee most voters will see President Biden as the safer bet between the two men to bring order back to America — in no small part because Mr. Biden was elected to do so and hasn’t delivered.
Today Americans are exhausted. Two-thirds of them told the Pew Research Center that’s how they feel — outpacing emotions like “angry” and certainly “hopeful.” Asked to describe politics today in their own words, “messy” and “chaos” sat alongside “divisive” and “corrupt” atop the list of replies. I believe this is a key explanation for why candidates like Herschel Walker and Kari Lake, who seemed like wild cards, fared so poorly in the 2022 midterms, especially relative to other, more conventional or staid politicians, often in the same states.
This is why, already, Trump is beginning to work to portray himself as the safer, more stable pick and to go to great — even misleading — lengths to claim that Mr. Biden actually wants chaos and has created a world filled with more terror. He has already produced ads suggesting that Mr. Biden’s inability to lead is directly responsible for the global disorder that threatens American security, and it is a message voters have begun to echo in polling.
If this election is between Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump and is fought on chaos versus stability, even with all of the drama constantly swirling around the former president, don’t assume most voters will consider a second Trump term to be the riskier bet.”