President Trump did quite a good job, I thought, in striking a balance between appealing to his and the Republican Party's traditional base — awarding a Medal of Freedom to Rush Limbaugh, "we will never let socialism destroy American health care," the "Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act" — and expanding his base or appealing to undecided voters. In the "expand" category might be put "always protect Medicare and Social Security," "taking on the big pharmaceutical companies," "eradicate AIDS by the end of the decade," and "first woman on the moon."
I saw Senator Schumer clapping when Trump touted the "second chance" criminal justice reform he enacted, and also when Trump spoke of "rural high speed internet." Speaker Pelosi clapped when Trump talked about infrastructure spending.
Much of the speech featured efforts to reach out to minority voters, from recognition of Senator Tim Scott for Opportunity Zone legislation, to the prisoner re-entry passage, to the 100-year-old Tuskegee airman that Trump promoted to general, to Stephanie and Janiyah Davis waiting for a school choice scholarship in Pennsylvania, to a deputy chief of the border patrol named Raul Ortiz, to Trump's mention at the end of the speech of Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Tubman. Annie Karni and Maggie Haberman wrote of Trump's Super Bowl ad that such outreach "could also have the effect of reassuring white suburban women, a worrisome demographic for the campaign, that the president is not racist."
Rural high speed internet, along with the Tuskegee airmen, are staples of Democratic presidential speeches. Trump also distanced himself from the George W. Bush administration by announcing that "We are working to end America's wars in the Middle East" and "bring our troops back home."
Trump has a pattern of getting positive reviews for a scripted speech and then returning to the appearance of chaos with a tweet or a seemingly offhand remark or decision, so we will see what happens. But to the extent that this and the Super Bowl ad are reliable previews of the re-election message, my initial reaction to it all is that the Trump team is smarter and more competent than it often gets credit for, and that the president is in a reasonably strong position. He hasn't yet focused on negatively defining his Democratic opponent, who hasn't yet been selected. People reply that, given the peace and prosperity, Trump should be polling even more strongly, but remember that, like George W. Bush, Trump came into office having lost the popular vote.