Voters, Advisers Say Trump’s 2024 Campaign More Focused Than Previous Runs

Voters, Advisers Say Trump’s 2024 Campaign More Focused Than Previous Runs
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event in Grand Rapids, Mich., on April 2, 2024. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Joe Gomez

Even though former President Donald Trump is beset by legal problems and facing four different criminal probes, voters and former advisers to the ex-commander in chief say his 2024 campaign for the White House is more focused and disciplined than either of his previous presidential runs.

“The president has a better sense of what’s important and what’s not, so his priorities are different this time and I think you have very strong people in a leadership position this time that know what they’re doing,” Brian Seitchik a Republican strategist and former regional director of President Trump’s 2020 campaign for president, told The Epoch Times.

“I would argue that in the 2020 campaign, there were some very smart people involved but some folks who were just not as versed in the campaign world and didn’t understand the nuances and ups and downs of a political campaign,” he said. “The folks who are running the show now are all grizzled veterans who have been through tough wars before and know how to prioritize what’s important and what’s not.”

Democrats Nervous

Indeed, the former president has seen a dramatic rise in support that seemingly has the Democratic Party on edge.
A March 2 New York Times/Siena poll showed President Trump beating President Joe Biden by 5 points in a head-to-head contest. A RealClearPolitics average of polls conducted in seven battleground states shows President Trump beating President Biden in all but Pennsylvania.

“I think Trump is laser-focused because he’s afraid of going to jail and he has to pay, like, half a billion dollars, otherwise New York City will take away all his property,” Julias Vivos, an unaffiliated voter from Colorado, told The Epoch Times. “I mean if it was me, I'd be doing the same thing. You can tell he’s not really playing around this time.”

In addition to his four criminal indictments, a judge has ordered President Trump to pay a $454 million penalty, ruling in a civil fraud lawsuit that he lied about his wealth for years as he built the real estate empire that vaulted him to stardom and the White House.

President Trump is appealing New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron’s Feb. 16 decision. The judge found that President Trump, his company, and executives including his sons Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., schemed to pad his net worth by billions of dollars on financial statements given to banks, insurers, and others to make deals and secure loans.

Until the appeal is resolved, the total will increase by $111,984 per day because of interest. President Trump denies wrongdoing. He does not have to pay the full amount right away. A court said it would pause enforcement while he appeals the ruling—preventing the possible seizure of his assets—if he put up $175 million.
“I do think it sounds like he got screwed and this is all a political witch hunt,” Mr. Vivos said. “Almost everyone in the legal system coming against him is a Democrat.”

Polls Show Criminal Indictments Boost Trump

Other voters have also mused that President Trump’s political comeback could be fueled by his criminal indictments.

“It makes sense, all the Trumpers finally have a flag to rally behind, when it looked like they were about to dump him,” Jessica Gonzales, a Democrat from Texas, told The Epoch Times.

According to a December 2022 poll by CNN, 62 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents wanted somebody other than the former president as the party’s nominee for the White House. Then, in March 2023, President Trump’s polling numbers exploded after he was indicted for falsifying business records to hide a “hush money” payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels, something President Trump denies.
Shortly after the indictment, President Trump led his closest opponent, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, by 35 percent according to a Harvard/Harris poll conducted at the time. As the indictments kept piling on—in Florida for allegedly hiding classified documents, in Washington for allegedly disrupting a transfer of power in 2020, and in Georgia for allegedly trying to overturn President Biden’s victory—President Trump became the clear leader in the GOP primary.
“The primary was pretty flawless, and that was not a done deal. [Nobody knew] the primary was going to be so flawless,” said Mr. Seitchik.

Trump Sees Record Fundraising

The former president’s resurgence and dominance over the Republican Party has also resulted in a staggering fundraising haul. On April 6, the Trump campaign said it raised $50.5 million as it works to catch up to the fundraising juggernaut of President Biden and the Democratic Party.
The reported haul from the event with major donors at the home of billionaire investor John Paulson in Palm Beach, Florida, set a new single-event fundraising record and is almost double the $26 million that President Biden’s campaign said it raised recently at a gathering with former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

“It’s clearer than ever that we have the message, the operation, and the money to propel President Trump to victory on November 5,” Trump campaign senior advisers Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles said in a statement.

President Trump and the GOP had previously announced that they raised more than $65.6 million in March and closed out the month with $93.1 million. President Biden and the Democrats announced April 6 that they took in more than $90 million last month and had over $192 million on hand.

Although the Trump campaign is lagging behind President Biden in terms of cash on hand, veterans of his previous presidential bids say it likely won’t hurt the former president, but will transform his political operation into a leaner and more well-defined one.

“It’s clear they have a reduced budget, they have fewer bodies, but there seems to be more of a plan and a direction than in Trump’s 2020 campaign,” said Mr. Seitchik. “It felt they just had—and I was a part of it—a lot of resources and decided to spend those as opposed to husbanding them for the final push.”

“There are seemingly financial difficulties this time, although that does look to be changing. But just overall there’s a tightness, there’s a professionalism to this operation that I think is going to serve the former president well,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Joe Gomez is an award-winning journalist who has worked across the globe for several major networks including: CBS, CNN, FOX News, and most recently NBC News Radio as a national correspondent based out of Washington. He has covered major disasters and worked as an investigative reporter in many danger zones.