Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Anti-Trump Ad: Trump's Dangerous Rhetoric

John Kasich's SuperPAC has launched its first anti-Trump missile: Trump's Dangerous Rhetoric:

Trump's Dangerous Rhetoric

The spot opens with a quick cut of the debate stage zooming in to Trump. It then goes to retired Col Tom Moe (a Vietnam POW) who gives this speech:
I would like anyone who is listening to consider some thoughts paraphrased from the words of German Pastor Martin Niemallor: You might not care if Donald Trump says Muslims should register with their government, because you’re not one. And you might not care if Donald Trump says he’s going to round up all the Hispanic immigrants, because you’re not one. And you might not care if Donald Trump says it’s okay to rough up black protesters, because you’re not one. And you might not care if Donald Trump wants to suppress journalists, because you’re not one. But think about this: If he keeps going, and he actually becomes president, he might just get around to you. And you better hope there’s someone left to help you.
 The background is ominous and low. The images are either headlines (Trump will bring back water-boarding) or Trump speaking. At the end it goes back to Tom Moe finishing up and then to a slow-mo close up of Trump's mouth as the music swells. Fade to black. Fins.

The Meaning of It

Trump's a Nazi, you know? Or, erm, at least a fascist. Natzi-ish, you know.

Here's the problem with this approach: They do know. Firstly, Trump hasn't said he'll round up all the Hispanic immigrants--just the 11MM illegal ones. While the degree of absurdity might be lost on you, it isn't lost on Trump voters. For people who have been told by conservative pundits they trust that immigration is, literally, a existential threat to America--perhaps the biggest one we face--the absolute value of Trump's position is the only one that makes any sense.

Similarly, Trump has said that even if waterboarding doesn't work he'd bring it back because "they deserve it."  This, too, isn't lost on his supporters: it is, in fact, Trump's value proposition. This might as well be a pro-Trump ad.

Consider a recent YouGov poll of candidates choosing between Rubio and Trump graded on their sentiment towards immigrants:

The more you dislike immigrants (and that's not to mention illegal immigrants) the more you like Trump. The less you like Rubio. But is that a winning move in the larger primary? With the GOP voting body at large? Yep: Head-to-head Trump beats Rubio 57 to 43. A blow out.

In fact, studies suggest that virtually nothing you could tell Trump supporters will dislodge him. Sure: Carson and now Cruz do better with strongly religious evangelicals--but the idea that Trump would be critically damage by this attack is naive. Trump's voters know that Trump will (in theory) go after black protesters, illegal aliens, and Muslims--and not them.

That's why they're voting for him.

Putting Trump on the screen also doesn't work: his body language projects power. His overblown speech (large mouth movements) suggests an "Alpha Male." He's been on TV since some of these candidates were in high school. Using Trump against himself is just going to make him stronger.

This ad helps Clinton and no one else.

Grade: F


  1. "When someone is 55 percent right, that's very good and there's no use wrangling. And if someone in 60 percent right, it's wonderful, it's great luck, and let him thank God. But what's to be said about 75 percent right? Wise people say this is suspicious. Well, and what about 100 percent right? Whoever says he's 100 percent right is a fanatic, a thug, and the worst kind of rascal."
    -an old Jew from Galacia

  2. Rabbi Chanina said: "Pray for the welfare of government, for if it were not for it,
    men would swallow eachother alive"
    -Ethics of the Fathers