In a single day, Trump shows his 2020 cards

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President Donald Trump is on a mission to show supporters he’s still the same fighter they elected.

He pushed back against establishment Washington on Thursday with a one-two punch — first by giving conservative bloggers a space to air their grievances about anti-conservative media bias, then by announcing an executive order to collect data about immigrants after the courts blocked him from adding a citizenship question to the census.

The actions — like so many other policies and events being organized by the Trump White House — aren’t likely to yield substantive policy changes. But they’re designed to appeal to the president’s conservative base as he heads into a tough reelection fight.

“That’s what the president does better than anyone: He fights,” said longtime Republican operative Ben Marchi, a Trump delegate to the 2016 national convention. “His ability to never say die is one that doesn’t mesh with the Georgetown establishment. They view it as simple-minded and unintelligent, but the reality is that regular Americans appreciate his dogged persistence.”

In 12 hours on Thursday, through speeches and on Twitter, Trump stepped directly onto some of the most volatile fault lines that could rev up his fiercest supporters: immigration, the Pledge of Allegiance, social media bias, unfair trade with China, big banks, Iran, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference, impeachment and, of course, individual Democratic candidates for president.

It was a one-day sampling of what Trump hopes will give him a winning hand in 2020.

For two and a half years, Trump has railed against Democrats, the media and nearly all of Washington’s established institutions — caring little about perceptions by anyone but supporters who flocked to him in 2016 because they were frustrated by business as usual, people close to Trump say.

In many cases, Trump only achieves incremental steps or none at all — far from what he promised Americans when he was on the campaign trail in 2016. But most supporters still don’t see it as a failure. Instead, they see a man who is doing what he said he would.

Steve Cortes, a Trump ally who served on his Hispanic Advisory Council during the 2016 campaign and is serving on his 2020 reelection committee, described it as part of Trump’s “winning political formula for 2020.”

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