“Voters on the whole are completely desensitized to personal attacks on Trump at this point,” said Tim Alberta, the author of “American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump.”
“Rick Perry called him a ‘cancer’ and then became a cabinet secretary,” he said. “It’s not like a swing voter in a battleground state will hear an ad hominem attack on him and suddenly think, ‘I never thought of it that way.’”
Mr. Alberta, who in researching his book spent time Monday-morning quarterbacking the 2016 election with many of the failed Republican candidates, said that “the unlearned lesson from 2016 for Republicans was that every day spent launching ad hominem attacks on Trump was a day not spent pointing to voters how little he knows about actually running the government.”
While the attacks may help Democrats distinguish themselves from one another, they appear to have no effect on Mr. Trump’s poll numbers, according to officials. Mr. Trump’s internal approval ratings, a source familiar with the numbers said, have not shifted by more than 1 percent since April 2018, and hover between 43 and 45 percent.
“Everything is tribal at this point,” said Brendan Buck, a former adviser to Paul Ryan, the former House speaker. “If you’re with him, you’re with him, in spite of or because of the way that he is.” But Mr. Buck said that since 2016, there has been “slippage with women voters, suburban voters — and I think some of it is related to his persona and the way he presents himself” and the character that Democrats are critiquing.
Trump campaign officials shrug off the race to be seen as the biggest Trump critic in the Democratic Party. They view it as an intraparty fight between candidates trying to raise small dollars and qualify for the next presidential debate, but they have tracked no negative effect on Mr. Trump’s standing because of it.
And they have ignored the president’s one Republican opponent, William F. Weld, the former Massachusetts governor waging the longest of long-shot Republican primary challenges, who also appears to be recycling the attacks that failed to stop Mr. Trump’s capture of the party’s nomination in 2016. “Donald Trump is a raging racist,” Mr. Weld said last month. “He’s a complete and thoroughgoing racist.”