Saturday, January 23, 2016

Republican Attack Ads Are Making Everyone Hate Republicans


Friday, Hillary was busy driving up her own already unfavorable ratings by joining the most vicious surrogates and staffers on her team disseminating twisted lies about Bernie. Democrats hate negative campaigning against other Democrats. Even Republicans are growing restless-- at least in Iowa and New Hampshire-- with the tens of millions of dollars in negative ads they can't escape from. TV, radio, internet... the Republican candidates are tearing each other apart. The party's brand is being adversely effected each time one of the candidates starts pounding on another one.

The latest poll of Republicano likely Iowa caucus goers was bad news for Cruz and bad news for anyone hoping to prevent a first ballot nomination for Herr Trumpf. A deadlocked convention can only happen if Trump wins fewer than half the delegates. With Trumpf neutering Cruz in Iowa, the Texas neo-fascist will be pretty much roadkill. And there really is no one else. That was the sorriest, shallowest deep bench I ever saw! The CNN poll released Thursday has Herr Trumpf with 37% (up 4 points), Cruz with 26% (up 6 points), Rubio with 14% (up 3 points), Dr. Ben with 6% (down 10 points) and everyone else within the margin of error, Fiorina, Kasich and Christie having sunk back down to 1% each. In New Hampshire, the latest poll is also from CNN and it shows Republicans there favoring Herr Trumpf with 34% (up 2 points), Cruz with 14% (up 8 points), Jeb with 10% (up 2 points), Rubio with 10% (down 4 points) and Christie, Kasich and Paul each with 6%. Everyone's fighting for their lives and the desperate campaigns are going for broke. It's kind of sad watching Rubio attack Christie and Jeb attack Rubio and Huckabee attack Kasich.

The real action is now between Cruz and Herr Trumpf. Yesterday Trumpf released his campaign's first attack ad (above), laying out $2 million in Iowa with pure Rubio messaging against Cruz on immigration policy. Rubio's points are cynical and misleading, which probably make them more attractive to Herr. But Iowa voters are now hearing the stuff about Cruz from so many sources that some of them are starting to believe it, which is probably why his polling numbers are headed south. Herr sent out an ironic tweet this morning: "I am in Iowa watching all of these phony T.V. ads by the other candidates. All bull, politicians are all talk and no action-it won't happen!"

Meanwhile Cruz went on the attack against Trumpf, accusing him of being a crony-capitalist-- too abstract for a Trumpf supporter to care about-- and invoking Rand Paul's arguments about eminent domain, which is another thing Trumpf fans don't understand or care about and is likely to have no discernible effect on Trumpf's standing in the polls. Unless Cruz can somehow figure out how to keep Trumpf supporters from caucusing, he's going to lose the state he thought would launch him on an unstoppable victory march to Cleveland. Every day that passes with Trumpf as the front-runner makes it more difficult for anyone-- Cruz, the establishment candidates, the Establishment itself-- to stop him from winning a nomination which could split the Republican Party into pieces and which would certainly be a boon to Democrats on every level.

Trumpf responsed, blandly and misleadingly, on Twitter... before dawn. This one may be effective with libertarians. But are there libertarian Trumpf fans? Instead of running yet another negative ad this week, Jeb had his mommy come in and try to rescue his catastrophic and failed campaign with an ad that will be remembered by exactly no one, or at least by fewer people who remember that she told the world he shouldn't run in the first place because the country's had enough Bushs.

And then there's this by the Republican Establishment, not representing any particular candidate but just slamming Herr Trumpf in a way that will have little to no effect on most of his supporters but will make him anathema to ideological Republicans-- and perhaps less unattractive to Democrats. The ad was made by the Our Principles SuperPAC, a group cobbled together by Romney operatives and headed by Romney's former deputy campaign manager Katie Packer. The group reports spending $254,651 against Trumpf, but this ad is new and not part of that report. Packer refuses to say who ponied up the money for the group and will neither confirm no deny that Romney is involved with the SuperPAC. So far they have spent on mailers and radio ads in Iowa. I'm not certain what they plan to do with a two minute and 24 second attack video. Show it at churches? It's had just over 14,000 views on YouTube.

You know, it's funny, but I think well-run twitter campaigns are having as much impact-- if not more-- than millions of dollars in TV and radio advertising by the presidential candidate. Lindsey Graham may be correct that Herr Trumpf would make the worst commander-in-chief in the nation's history, but he'd be the country's best presidential tweeter. Here are a few from today, twisting the knife into the back of "ally" Ted Cruz for the sake of his 5.8 million twitter followers. Twitter is the absolutely perfect medium for Herr Trumpf. Assertions are his style; no other presidential campaign comes even close to his natural ability to exploit Twitter, although at least Rand Paul is in the ballpark.

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