The Trump campaign’s last-ditch effort to win back the suburban women fleeing the president in the polls has fallen to one person: Ivanka Trump.
In the past six weeks, Trump has made personal appeals for her father at 17 campaign stops, engaging in intimate question-and-answer sessions where she tells stories about the president. She’s made stops at local businesses to pose with children in Halloween costumes. She’s bought cider and doughnuts. She’s rolled out bread for baking.
It’s the traditional politicking that is hard to imagine coming from any other Trump family member, let alone President Donald Trump himself. Her brothers, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, and her sister-in-law, Lara Trump, are mostly sent out to throw red meat to Trump’s conservative base. So Ivanka Trump has become the de facto head of the eleventh-hour campaign to appeal to swing voters, specifically the white college educated women who helped propel the president’s come-from-behind victory in 2016.
But with polls showing Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden winning that slice of women by 20 percentage points or more, it’s a taxing assignment.
“As a working mother who has dedicated her career to the improvement of women’s lives, Ivanka intrinsically understands the issues facing American families today,” said Mercedes Schlapp, a senior adviser for the Trump campaign. “Ivanka Trump can speak to President Trump’s success from the perspective of both a policy adviser and close family member — a remarkably effective combination on the campaign trail.”
Ivanka Trump has visited 10 battleground states — Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nevada and Arizona — and expects to campaign in Pennsylvania, Florida and North Carolina again before the election, one Trump political aide said.
She’s also headlined half a dozen virtual rallies and is expected to raise $35 million for her father at a total of nine fundraisers since August, including two in California on Monday, a second Trump political aide said.
Still, political analysts are skeptical that a last-minute attempt to soften the president’s coarse politics will have much of an effect.
“The reality is that women voters are looking at the substance of what’s happened,” said Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. “It’s kind of late, three weeks out, to try suddenly to be having a different tone and tenor. I don’t think she alone can make up for what these women have been seeing the last four years.”
The president has spent nearly four years pushing policies that have not polled well with the voting blocs his daughter is now trying to win over — everything from his crackdown on immigrants crossing the southern border illegally to his uneven response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“In the end, suburban voters generally and suburban women in particular are paying very close attention to what the president is saying and doing, not just recently, but over four years,” Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) said in an interview. “No surrogate can undo that. They