At Mt. Rushmore, Trump Updates ‘American Carnage’ Message for the Election

Matthews noted that his rhetoric does little more than solidify voters who are likely to return to his corner. "He has no interest in expanding his base or even moving away from those who have left," she said.

Patrick Murray, director of the Research Institute at Monmouth University, said that former presidents often seek to spread cultural battles, "giving people this kind of amorphous environment where they can continue to live." Trump, however, is different from any of his predecessors.

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"Donald Trump doesn't give you that choice – you're with him or against him," said Murray, whose most recent poll this week showed Biden leading 53% to 41%. “He's forcing people to take sides. And when they take sides, more of them are moving the other way. "

In Biden, Trump also faces a centrist opponent who is not easily considered a radical liberal, but one who is seen as a palatable alternative to some older voters and Republicans in a way that Hillary Clinton was not. Biden, for example, said he did not support the police outlay and made careful distinctions between taking down monuments to the country's founding fathers and those that commemorate Confederate leaders.

That did not stop the Trump campaign from claiming that, in the black-and-white world he wants to present to voters in November, Biden is on the side of violent looters. "The first instinct for Joe Biden and his party is to agree with the agitators that there is something fundamentally wrong in America and that there has always been," said Murtaugh.

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The question for Trump and his political advisers is whether to label Biden as a puppet for extreme left-wing extremists will work. In a statement released on Saturday in response to Trump's speech, Andrew Bates, a spokesman for the Biden campaign, said: “Joe Biden is following opposite values ​​- to win this battle for the soul of our nation, to unite the American people. and rebuild the middle class stronger than ever, bringing everyone together. "

Trump's speech on Friday night also revealed the president's concern about his position with voters and evangelical conservatives, who were crucial to his victory in 2016. On the list of great Americans he said he wants to erect a statute to honor , was the late Supreme. Judge Antonin Scalia, a conservative favorite.

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