China Is Going to Be a Big Issue in the 2020 Campaign. But What Does That Mean?
By Ben Jacobs
New York Magazine, Published 06/23/2020
Democrats are sensitive to some of these concerns, particularly at a time where Trump is openly referring to the coronavirus as the “kung flu” at campaign rallies. As Ian Sams, a Democratic strategist who advises Navigator Research, warned, “I think you have to be careful how you talk about this. You don’t want to encourage racist or xenophobic tropes or stereotypes.” This concern was echoed by Bannon. “I do think the left has got a point [about being careful about language],” the former Trump strategist told Intelligencer. “This is not about China or the Chinese people. This is about the Chinese Communist Party.”
However, it’s still unclear how much U.S.-China policy motivates voters and whether there are many single-issue voters on the issue. In data obtained by Intelligencer from WPA Intelligence, a top Republican data firm, modeling shows that 21 percent of the electorate could be moved by a campaign message focused on “holding China accountable.” However, it would be counterproductive for 23 percent of voters. In particular, in the key Rust Belt states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, the rhetoric shows mixed effectiveness. In Michigan, 16 percent of voters would be responsive to a “tough on China” message and 12 percent would recoil, and in Pennsylvania, those numbers are 29 percent and 28 percent. But in Wisconsin, such a message would resonate with only 8 percent of voters and be counterproductive with 25 percent of the electorate.
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