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Trump’s late rallies flopped

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President Donald Trump arrives on stage to speak at a campaign rally at the BOK Center, Saturday, June 20, 2020, in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The permanent presidential campaign, among other things, means a great deal of media attention in invested in stuff that does not matter in any discernible way:

As the 2020 campaign wound down, President Donald Trump held rallies across the country to fire up his supporters and get them out to vote. Many saw the rallies as a sign of big enthusiasm for Trump, but the data suggest the visits did not produce the desired impact for the president.

Comparing Trump campaign stops over the last two weeks of the race to election results shows that in the overwhelming majority of cases, Trump underperformed his 2016 margins in the counties he visited, in some cases by large amounts.

There were 30 Trump campaign stops in that period, according to an NBC News tally, in states from Arizona to Nebraska to Pennsylvania. In five counties that Trump visited he saw better results than he did in 2016, but in the remaining 25 his margins of victory got smaller, his margin of defeat grew or the county flipped Democratic.

In theory, Joe Biden winning the Democratic nomination and the presidency should cause some reflection about how important many of the tactical choices political reporters obsess over actually matter, but it probably won’t.

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