President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is back in full force with a rally in Jacksonville on Thursday night.
Although he has found ways to stage rally-type spectacles in Florida in the past few months, the event at the Jacksonville Jetport at Cecil Airport will be his first all-out rally in Florida in months.
It also comes about a month after the Republican National Convention was supposed to be held in Jacksonville — until Trump canceled it, saying the coronavirus had made such an event unsafe.
Here are three things to watch tonight.
1. Law and order will be a theme.
Throughout the summer, protests of police violence have rocked cities all over the country. Some of the protests have included violence and property destruction, a fact that’s long been a central talking point for Trump’s allies in the conservative media. The president has argued for months that he will keep Americans safer than his 2020 opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, another Trump ally, has also tried recently to bring law and order to the front of voters' minds. Earlier this week, he and top Florida legislative Republicans proposed a sweeping series of crackdowns on what they called “disorderly assemblies" — even while admitting that such assemblies have been few and far between in Florida.
Wednesday’s grand jury decision in the Breonna Taylor case out of Louisville, Ky., set off another round of nationwide protests. How will Trump, who’s had a history of inflaming racial tension instead of looking for calm, respond at tonight’s rally? And how will the law and order president square his recent refusal to commit to a peaceful post-election transfer of power should Biden win?
2. Florida could be at the center of the Supreme Court conversation.
President Donald Trump has said that Saturday he will announce his nominee to fill the Supreme Court seat made vacant by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. On his short list is a key Florida name: 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Barbara Lagoa.
Trump’s Florida allies have tried to persuade the president in recent days to nominate Lagoa, the Miami daughter of Cuban exiles. Such a nomination could be game-changing in the pivotal swing state of Florida.
To what extent will Trump talk about his next SCOTUS nomination? How excited is Trump’s base about the prospect of a third Trump-nominated justice?
3. Will QAnon show up again?
Followers of QAnon believe that an anonymous, high-level security officer is posting cryptic online dispatches about how President Donald Trump is saving America from hostile internal actors known as the “deep state.”
The bizarre conspiracy first made national waves when dozens of believers in the disinformation campaign showed up at a 2018 Trump rally in Tampa. Since then, the movement has only grown. This year, Marjorie Taylor Greene, a congressional candidate in Georgia and believer in the conspiracy theory, won her Republican primary. Trump called Greene a “future Republican star.”
Will QAnoners try to show up in Jacksonville?