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Assault on America, Day 174: D’s and R’s dump millions to wage a messaging war in 2020

Keep America Great
As the countdown to the first Democrat debates of the 2020 nominating cycle continues, perhaps it’s time to examine what President Donald Trump could/should do to hone his own message to attract the additional four or five percentage points of American votes he’ll need to virtually guarantee his reelection.

We’ll hear plenty of messaging from the first ten Democrats to hit the stage on Wednesday night (and from the second group of ten on Thursday as well), mostly in the form of griping about how awful the president is and why he must be replaced by someone in their midst -- a pol who “brings us together instead of dividing us” despite half the country -- i.e. Trump supporters -- being racists, sexists, xenophobes, homophobes, etc.

If every Trump backer is so dreadful (or at least half of them, according to Hillary Clinton), why would Democrats hope to “unite” the citizenry in the first place?

Regardless, there will be all sorts of missives that Trump and Republicans must respond to. The Editors of the Washington Examiner wrote, “Assuming you see through such laughable disinformation [from the so-called mainstream establishment media], you’re probably aware that for all his sins, Trump has a pretty clear path to reelection.

“First, he needs to take credit for the economy, and also avoid messing it up... Second, Trump needs to take credit for his accomplishments in foreign policy... Trump’s third card is the easiest one to play, and one he enjoys playing. He just needs to point out that the Democrats have lost their minds on his watch...

“Trump remains the chaotic figure he always was, and that has always put people off. But he has to convince the public that the nation’s trajectory under his leadership, so long as you ignore the frenzied and often fake day-to-day news coverage, is just fine. To the extent that he can make that case to voters, he will gather support for 2020. And if he gets distracted with other irrelevant messages, he will fail.”

Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? If this were normal times, with so much prosperity all around us, Trump could theoretically spend the next year and change sequestered on a remote island like Chuck Noland of “Cast Away” fame (played by Tom Hanks) and emerge shortly before the election to collect his 65-plus million votes and reinstate his access cards to the White House. True, polls show Trump isn’t personally popular, but his policies are -- and over seventy percent of Americans believe the economy is strong and benefitting them, including a majority of Democrats.

Trump’s personality is one of the reasons why his supporters like him so much, precisely because his fight-them-all-the-time style is so unlike the stereotypical spineless politician. Perhaps never before has national politics offered someone with such unrelenting confidence and willingness to battle back against the Washington establishment. Trump’s rallies are more than feel-good gatherings of like-minded individuals; they’re calls to action for the heretofore politically suppressed to speak out and express themselves. Trump is their unlikely champion.

Can anyone imagine Mitt Romney generating this kind of enthusiasm? Or Jeb Bush? Or John Kasich? Chris Christie? (The late) John McCain? Marco Rubio (more on him below)?

Trump’s message is partially tied to his confrontational persona. For years conservative leaders and elected officials highlighted and warned of the ill effects of illegal immigration, for example, but Trump is the first Republican to really do something about it. Lip service receives no special sanctuary in Trump’s world -- if he says something, he means it. At times the president mixes up historical facts but it doesn’t detract from his overall message -- and results speak for themselves.

Like the Examiner’s editors suggested, Trump would do well to tout the burgeoning economy in addition to his foreign policy successes. As for the rest, Democrats will most certainly help him get his point across -- starting on Wednesday night. Surveys show voter interest is already high ahead of next year’s election, so expect the Democrat debates to draw impressive audiences. Americans tuned in to the 2016 GOP debates to see the “show” put on by Trump and the otherwise entertaining cast of Republican characters and will do likewise with the Democrats.

People want to see whether the Joe Biden of 2019 is different than the Delaware dolt of 1988 and 2008. Everyone knows Biden’s already run for president twice and frankly didn’t get very far either time. The former vice president’s talent for shoveling immense loads of stinky bovine excrement hasn’t subsided one bit and his fellow competitors attacked him savagely for his recent comment about “getting things accomplished” while working with the senate’s old segregationists.

The white-hot spotlight of truth is yet to be shone on any of this year’s Democrat crop, which certainly was not the case for the party in 2016. The Democrat establishment and most of the country assumed Hillary would be the nominee and her rap sheet was as long as [Mexican drug cartel leader] El Chapo’s before she even served as Secretary of State under Obama. Similar to Trump (who everyone was also familiar with), Clinton’s dirty laundry had been drawing flies for a quarter century. There wasn’t much to re-litigate but people sure understood she was filthy dirty.

Not so for the 2020 Democrats, nearly all (except for maybe Biden and Bernie Sanders) of whom are new to the national stage. Trump and the Republican brain trust won’t have much difficulty defining the eventual final contenders, and the nominee, once determined, will draw a ton of scrutiny from all corners. Even the mainstream establishment media will help expose some of the person’s flaws, and what they don’t find, Trump and his people definitely will. Here’s thinking the winning Democrat’s favorability ratings will drop through the floor once the public finds out who they really are.

Will it necessarily elevate Trump’s standing? Hard to say. But if Trump is on a fairly even trajectory with the Democrat opposing him people will take a longer, harder look at the intangibles like the economy, foreign policy, etc., making Trump’s marketing job that much simpler. Right now, to those wary of the president’s acquired-taste personality, every Democrat smells like a rose -- but grueling negative campaigns have a way of making everyone look a little (or a lot) less attractive.

That’s just politics. If John F. Kennedy were alive today, even he might not appear to be the golden boy he was in 1960. Imagine if Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand or “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg (et al) ends up the Democrat delegate leader… one almost pities them in advance for what lies ahead. It’ll be merciless. They’ll melt like a hot knife through room temperature butter when the cameras flash and the microphones go live.

What Trump and the GOP don’t need is to run to the left and start acting like Democrats. That’s precisely what it’ll appear to be if they accept advice from wishy-washy big government establishment party members. Sen. Marco Rubio wrote at National Review, “I, along with Senator Mitt Romney (R., Utah) and Representatives Ann Wagner (R., Mo.) and Dan Crenshaw (R., Texas), introduced the New Parents Act, which would provide a voluntary option for paid family leave. The bill would ensure an economic safety net that new parents could take advantage of, by allowing them to pull forward from their future Social Security benefits. No new taxes. No new mandates. No new regulations. Completely optional…

“Today, many middle-class families in America do not have the luxury of one parent’s being able to stay at home. The flexibility my bill offers ensures that parents can continue working full-time or part-time, using the extra funds to pay for child-care expenses. No one should be economically penalized for choosing to start a family. No parents should have to go into debt to give their child proper care in those critical first few months.

“… I urge my colleagues, who know that being a parent is the greatest job we will ever have, to support my New Parents Act and join my effort to pass a national paid-family-leave program.”

As someone who’s familiar with raising children -- including the at-home role -- Rubio’s words are well-taken. But you can’t help but think this isn’t a subject Republicans need to take on, even if, as the Florida senator insists, it won’t add additional taxes or economic hardship to the strained federal budget. If new parents can draw from their social security benefits in this manner it’ll only add hurt down the road, since social security already taps into the general fund (there is no such thing as a social security “trust fund” -- that money was already spent years ago).

Republicans will never outbid Democrats, it’s a fact.

As with every campaign, messaging will be extremely important in 2020. Democrats will vie for the title of most extreme and liberal to please primary voters and President Trump will continue to preside over the GOP, the two parties preparing for an all-out messaging war in the coming months.

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