How Trump’s Convention Has Become a Crucial Play for the Suburbs

“A couple nice video clips and speeches from people of color in a convention isn’t going to do it because these voters know who Donald Trump is,” said Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “It’s going to be what happens in the next two months with his actions and his off-the-cuff rhetoric.”

To prevail in November, Mr. Trump will need to improve his performance in swing states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and North Carolina where his appeal with white women helped him win in 2016. Over all, he received the support of 53 percent of white women, including 51 percent of those with college degrees.

Sarah Longwell, a longtime Republican strategist who opposes Mr. Trump, said the decision to show a version of him that most Americans don’t see was right, insofar as voters were looking for something to point to in order to justify their support for a president who has encouraged racist conspiracy theories, lashed out at women and repeatedly insulted the intelligence of his Black critics.

“If there are people who are looking for permission to vote for him,” Ms. Longwell said, “it does give them something to point to.”

On television advertising, the Biden campaign has vastly outspent the Trump campaign, with $57.7 million on television in the month of August compared to $24.5 million by the Trump campaign. On Tuesday, the Trump campaign pulled down all their broadcast ads, and have none scheduled to air until Sept. 8; the campaign pledged to return to broadcast “well before” that date, and it still has a national cable presence.

On Facebook, the Trump campaign and allied committees have spent $22.8 million, and the Biden campaign has spent $17.7 million in August.

But a monthslong ad campaign seeking to sow fear in the suburbs, using selectively edited scenes to exaggerate violence from the summer protest movement, has done little to win back the suburban voters that Republicans lost in 2018, which cost them control of the House of Representatives.