White Paper: Trump’s Only Chance to Win
John F. Gaski, Ph.D.
A common impression has it that Donald Trump’s political handlers wage a non-stop battle to save the inept re-election candidate from himself. In view of the weak messaging performance of the Trump campaign’s professional marketers, it becomes plausible that the primary fault may not lie with Mr. Trump. What weakness? Following is a prescriptive selection of absolute knockout punches the flat-footed Trump campaign could be launching but, curiously, does not use. Readers can judge the prudence of that restraint in the face of no-holds-barred Democrat total warfare. Enjoy, and maybe the Trump people will notice and recall that the heart and soul of political marketing is the message―because the product, i.e., candidate, is the embodiment of the message.
• The valenced issue of fairness still resonates with most Americans, so keep reminding the electorate of the two-tiered (in)justice system that puts Democrats such as the Clintons and Joe Biden above the law. Remind how the Democrats treated Justice Kavanaugh and anyone else who ever got in their way such as Clarence Thomas, Michael Flynn, and Donald Trump himself. Keep using the effective ideal expressed as “This should never happen to another president,” meaning variously the Russia hoax, the Ukraine fake impeachment, or the overall sedition and coup attempt. (It is past time to start using the accurate word “sedition.”) A good adjunct for Mr. Trump is “If they can do it to me, they can do worse to you.” Yes, voters need to realize that the Dems are dangerous to them personally, and public fairness may be an underrated issue.
• A corollary is how the Democrats vulgarize the political climate with their vicious tactics. Say it this way: “Do not reward the Dems for their repugnant behavior. If you do, politics in America will just get uglier and dirtier.”
Speaking of, do not neglect to emphasize that most political violence in this country is committed by Democrats—to the extent that party affiliation is identifiable—contrary to the fake propaganda the public has received. Antifa is literally the brown-shirt arm of the DNC. That would be the same DNC that funded the Occupy Wall Street slow-motion riot. It is not Republican kids who shout down and attack campus speakers they don’t like, or now riot in the streets.
Corollary II: To endure the relentless political assault, Donald Trump appears to be the toughest president we’ve had in a long time. In this world, that is a national asset which should be valued and stressed to voters.
• Again on extreme violence, the Democrat advantage on the abortion issue can be reversed—with the right rhetorical agility that Republicans never master. Despite intense national controversy, the Trump campaign can focus on aspects that a majority do agree upon, such as the brutality of late-term and partial-birth abortion, and especially the grisly immorality of literal post-delivery infanticide that Democrats now support.
• Another issue the Republicans should own is healthcare, on which Democrat propaganda has been punching above its weight, especially in view of its inherent liabilities. Why can’t the truth win out over Democrat lies? An example of those lies Repubs and Trump should exploit more: “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” Reminding the voters of this one should be effective in establishing credibility because people already know it was a lie.
Related undeserved Democrat strengths on which Repubs/Trump should win are Medicare and Social Security. Again, what is the truth? Democrats have been running the two programs into insolvency for decades and whenever Republicans produce a viable plan to save one or the other, the Dems thwart it. Why? Because they would rather prolong the problem as a wedge issue than solve the problem. So, to verify and exploit, Repubs just need to replay some old news footage—over and over to break through the Dem brainwashing of the masses. And don’t forget to explain how Democrats intend to take private health insurance away from 180 million Americans. The electorate needs to know that the “Medicare for all” ruse is not like Medicare.
• The college debt crisis is similar. Haven’t Trump’s people noticed that this was not a crisis until a Democrat administration (“O’Biden,” as Joe says) took over student lending and made it so? Intentionally, that is, just to create another government-dependent class. Candidate Trump should hammer that point for a home run.
• Are we tired of winning yet? If not, let’s have Trump jiu-jitsu the Dems again by owning the race issue, as he should. How so? After recounting his stunning success in curing minority unemployment, proffer this rhetorical question to the national black audience: “What would happen to the Democrats if the entire black underclass suddenly became rich? The Dems would never win another election—and they know it. Now do you see why the Dems have had a political interest in keeping the underclass poor? It is Republicans who have a natural interest in helping the poor get rich.” It also is no coincidence that black neighborhoods are in shambles in virtually every Democrat-run American city. That visual should be a staple of the campaign.
Another way to connect with black Americans is via the common religious orientation. This natural affinity between blacks and most Republicans has been underutilized politically.
And the Dems overuse the “racism” accusation so much that the term is losing its potency. (This is why they brought out the “white supremacy” trope recently.) In so doing, they neuter the real offense and insult the intelligence of minorities. Now, wouldn’t you like to hear Trump, or any Republican, employ such poignancy to puncture the cynicism? And while they are at it, please point out that the Dems are the party of slavery, the Confederacy, Jim Crow, Bull Conner, and the KKK―having had a KKK Grand Kleegle (or whatever the title) as their Senate Majority Leader only a few years ago! (On race-related issues, Leo Terrell, Larry Elder, Candace Owens, and maybe Herschel Walker should be invited to do the TV ads.)
• But how can Trump run on an economy with depression-level metrics? Easy; he should still own that issue, too. Aside from reminding voters of creating the greatest economy in world history, pose this rhetorical question whenever Democrats blame the Covid economy on the President: Is our country the only one afflicted with Coronavirus or does the pandemic afflict the whole world? Therefore, Trump deserves credit for our economic success, but not the blame for the virus-induced slowdown.
To Trump’s marketers again: Don’t ever refer to the Obama-Biden economy as a “weak recovery,” as is the naïve, feckless custom. Do not give them even that much credit. For the right locution, say “long-term economic stagnation is what Biden-Obama gave us.” We can count on Biden to tout the Obama administration’s record of eight years of (anemic) economic growth, yet none of Trump’s political marketers have any idea how to rebut the claim. Along with the preceding, here’s how simple it would be: Growth is the normal state of our economy. On average, the U.S. tends to have about ten straight years of economic growth between short recessions lasting a few months, so the “O’Biden” record isn’t saying much. In fact, the 2008-09 recession ended before the last G. W. Bush fiscal year closed out, so “O’Biden-’Bama” deserve no credit for fixing it, as they falsely try to claim. (Do you think the amateurish Trump messaging team knows any of this?)
• Of course, true to their “Big Lie” or gaslight playbook, the Dems do accuse Donald Trump of poor performance in battling the Covid plague. Next time they call Trump slow in responding to the health emergency during last February, Trump can simply reply with the truth—but more effectively than rhetorically ham-handed Repubs usually do. “February?” Trump should say. “I didn’t wait until February. I started in January with the China travel ban—while Dems/Biden were opposed to it and doing nothing themselves (except impeachment and calling the ban racist). And I did something very important every day in February: I maintained and enforced the China travel ban! February was also the period when our heroic Operation Warp Speed was developed. Only the Democrats would politicize a pandemic.”
Truth normally is on the Republican side. In brief, the true story line here is that Trump directed the largest medical mobilization in world history while Joe Biden was hiding in his basement. Or was the DNC holding him prisoner there?
• More generally, perhaps the most vital Trump counterpunch is to the chronic lying accusation. The fulcrum would be to alert the public to the Democrat tendency to project, i.e., much Dem criticism reflects their own offenses. Democrats call Trump a liar to divert from the reality that lying is their stock-in-trade. Along with an inventory of Dem lies to cite, Trump’s team should compile a rebuttal to each one of the Washington Post’s 20,000 alleged Trump lies. They need to get started on that.
• Also on China, let us not neglect to remind voters that Biden is virtually owned by the Chinese, as a real-life Manchurian candidate. (No wonder the Dems initiated the Russia hoax to smear Trump via political projection, and as diversion from their own corruption.) Following China’s payment of $1.5 billion to the Biden crime family, old Joe capitulated to them in the trade negotiation he was ostensibly pursuing for American taxpayers. After selling out his country, now Biden and his party work hand-in-glove with China to defeat Trump, who appeared to be a re-election cinch until China infected our country with Covid. Coincidence?
And don’t let voters miss the connection between China, the economy, and their own security: If China ever surpasses the U.S. in GDP, we will not be able to match their military power. Donald Trump’s economic policies are the best chance to prevent world domination by China—and the end of the United States of America. Trump is literally the only one standing between us and that nightmare outcome.
• More on Democrat projection, along with a bit of deep background: Nice touch by the Dems to invent the Russia hoax after the Clinton campaign and DNC actually did collude with Russian disinformation operations, and after Russia contributed millions to the Clintons’ personal (foundation) slush fund in return for American uranium rights. Years earlier, as a few will recall, Bill Clinton also gave away military/nuclear technology to China in return for campaign cash—then had his Justice Department operative, Jamie Gorelick, conveniently erect the legal wall between the FBI and CIA investigations so the two sides of the transaction could not be connected. Remember that wall of separation? Same one that prevented U.S. intel from connecting the dots before 9-11! Astute grown-ups already know that Bill Clinton has more culpability for 9-11 than anyone other than Osama bin Laden or Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. (And I realize this public review may result in the Fort Marcy Park treatment for me.) Advice to Trump: It would help to provide voters a tutorial of these sleazy and treasonous Democrat scandals.
Back to the present, the Dems pretend they are opposed to foreign election interference, even though they facilitate unlawful voting by countless foreign invaders every four years. (See John Fund’s Stealing Elections. Trump tried to create a commission to verify the magnitude of Democrat election fraud, but the effort fizzled. Too bad his advisers were too ignorant to tell him that available data already support his estimate of millions of illegal votes per presidential election.) But now Trump can call the Dems’ bluff. “You don’t like foreign interference in U.S. elections?” he can say. “OK, we’ll have law enforcement at every polling station this year to prevent unregistered or illegal voters from casting votes.” Voter suppression, the Dems will aver, as they always do. Yes, just like Repubs have long tried to suppress illegal or unregistered voters, and dead voters.
Note for posterity: If Trump does not do something like this described preventive, along with action against the mail-in fraud scheme, Biden will win (on the scoreboard, if not on the playing field), the Democrats will legalize all 20 million or so illegal aliens as loyal Dem voters, and Republicans will never win another presidential election. Thus would be established the Democrat dream of a permanent, one-party, socialist dictatorship. And what has been the nature of every leftist dictatorship in world history? Farewell free country. Pleasant dreams, comrades.
Note to Trump: If you don’t enact measures to prevent the Dems from stealing this election, the United States of America comes to an end. I hope you realize that. More to the point, the Trump campaign needs to understand the mortal gravity.
Indeed, we are in the final stages of the prospective socialist takeover of the United States. Just as the last century’s Socialist Party of America predicted, socialism will take over the U.S. through the Democrat Party. It might help to report this prophetic forecast to voters. Years ago, socialist takeover concern would have appeared kook material. Not anymore.
• One asset the Dems have recently energized for Trump is their own misrule. Trump should incessantly remind voters that (1) every American city in ruins has been run by Dems for decades and (2) virtually every state in or near bankruptcy has been run by Dems for decades. So if voters want their home town or state to look like California, Illinois, New York State, Seattle, Portland, Chicago, New York City, L.A., San Francisco, Minneapolis, or Baltimore, then keep voting Democrat. With blue state governors already ruining state economies, (3) usurping individual rights, and now (4) collaborating with mayors to allow mob riots in major cities, American voters have gotten a preview of what life will be like if Democrats take power again.
Mr. Trump, you need to bring the public in on the Democrats’ cynical scheme. Rebuttal to the latest Democrat/Biden nonsense slander is straightforward: The Dems riot, Dem politicians aid and abet the rioters, Dems support the rioters financially (who paid for those pallets of bricks?), and then they claim the rioting is the fault of “Trump’s America”! If that were true, however, the violence would be occurring throughout the country. No, it is only seen in the Dem-controlled areas. QED.
Then the kill shot for the Trump side: Note how the Dems are willing to sacrifice the lives of African Americans in riot violence just to advance their political aims.
Corollary detail: If Joe Biden were to win the Presidency, he would not be the real chief executive for long. He would be run by the socialist, anarchist, behind-the-scenes Dem establishment until they move him out and move in their real ruler. Who, Hillary? AOC? Pelosi/Schumer? Michelle Obama? George Soros? There is fertile political ground to plow here, very fertile because it is true.
Mr. President, the only reason you won last time is that the electorate collectively dislikes Hillary even more than it dislikes you. That advantage does not apply this time, so you need to link Biden to Hillary and her fellow deplorables whenever possible.
• How exactly to handle the huge issue of post-Minneapolis BLM riots and radical Democrat policy initiatives? Again, with the truth: We had a brief moment of national unity over George Floyd, and then the Democrats ruined it—because they needed to for their agenda of national division. The Dems, taken over by their radical elements, now intend to install not only socialism but anarchy by eliminating the police, as they have affirmed. Make sure voters know all this.
Here’s the punchline for the whole election audience: “What if the rioters decide to take over your neighborhood, or your home? Now we know a Democrat mayor, governor, or president will do nothing to stop them.” Again, rational plus emotional wins the case. Framing the campaign as choosing between police and rioters is apt.
• Of course the Dems will play dirty in the campaign, as usual. Following upon the Russia and Ukraine lies, there will be more. Reminding voters of past Dem lies will help inoculate against new ones. But Mr. Trump, unfortunately, has some unsavory moments in his own past that Dems will summon and exploit. The main defense, preferably in Trump’s own voice, would be: “None of that matters—because I did those things when I was a Democrat. That’s the way Democrats behave, not Republicans. When I became a Republican, I had a moral conversion, so I’m no longer the same person. That old Democrat Trump is not this Donald Trump.” Bingo. You’re welcome.
Tactical Details and Conclusion
• Before launching any public communication strategy, the content should be tested. What many political marketers don’t seem to realize is that this does not mean focus group testing. Focus groups are tolerable for limited, preliminary purposes, but should always be augmented by more formal experimental or survey research. (The latter means “poll” testing.) Focus groups alone cannot be trusted. Among several reasons, they may not be representative and the environment is unnatural. Reflect on ones you’ve seen operated on TV, and you will understand.
• By all means, stop lowering expectations for Biden. Stop lowering the bar. That is one of the most basic blunders in marketing because it makes it easier for the rival product, Biden in this case, to meet the test.
•If the Trump campaign hasn’t yet scrapped the idea of replacing the MAGA slogan and acronym with “KAG” (Keep America Great), it should. Using “KAG” would be a gift to the Dems because within days, their propagandists would have half the country’s minorities believing that the “K” signifies KKK. For the KAG acronym even to be considered illustrates the limitations of the Trump team, to put it charitably.
• No more mass rallies? A loss, sure―so innovate something else. As FDR created the fireside chats, Trump should be the first president to use PowerPoint presentations instead of the deadly dull talking-head mode. Trump’s people should have thought of this long ago.
• Again on the “inside baseball” of political operations, the Trump campaign should investigate diligently for opposition spies, moles, or saboteurs within the organization. It sure appears that there may be some, as there clearly are within the administration.
• One thing Democrat marketers know all about is emotional appeal, which works especially well on Democrat and independent voters because so many of them “think” or react emotionally more than rationally. So, to chip away at movable fragments of the opposition’s base, incorporate appeal to emotion. Some of the preceding examples do so to a degree. (Most rational voters already support you, Mr. Trump.) Here is another possibility: Take advantage of natural anger at China. Promise retaliation of some kind for their intentional mass manslaughter of 200k Americans.
Intentional? Yes. Regardless of whether the virus came from a bat cave, a “wet” market, or a lab, and regardless of whether its origin was a bio-weapon or not, the Chinese Communist Party engineered its infliction upon the rest of the world by not restricting foreign travel from Wuhan, as it did with domestic Chinese travel. This confirms the extent of China’s culpability, and Americans need to be made conscious of it, and angry about it. Also a good idea to simultaneously remind voters about China’s ownership of Joe Biden.
Feel the anger? You should, and so should the American electorate.
• One more for Mr. Trump: Cue voters to appreciate the one president in memory who really did keep his promises. That should resonate on both emotional and rational levels. The Trump peacemaking successes, achieved while rebuilding the military, should be front and center (and contrasted with the terrible and costly “O’Biden” Iran deal). Also highlight Donald Trump’s nature as a non-politician as reason for the rare authenticity. Don’t ever allow the candidate to reference himself as a politician.
Then, as a final adjunct, make one new promise: If re-elected, President Trump will reveal the whole truth about the JFK assassination and UFO’s—and maybe even the Clinton circle of mysterious, unsolved, violent fatalities. Converting the intense followers of those issues—largely non-Republican voters—may be enough to carry the election. You do need to pull out all the stops after the poor campaign effort so far.
Because of the supreme stakes for the nation and the new radical extremity of the Democrat Party, this usually non-partisan observer submits the position that a Democrat win in the 2020 election means catastrophe for America. In fact, given the Dems’ declared intentions, it would likely precipitate the end of the USA. Not just the end of our country as we know it, it would be omega, ultimately translating into pseudo-existence as a colony of China—along with axis-of-evil accomplices Iran, Russia, North Korea, and ISIS. (Visualize a heavily-armed ISIS or al-Qaeda thug as the cop on the street corner ten years hence.) Therefore, I offer professional advice to Republican political marketers to help forestall national doom. It comes with a guarantee of value in excess of the price paid. The Trump campaigners are not doing everything wrong, only the most important things. America cannot risk their ultimate failure.
The author is a long-time registered Democrat—and long-time registered Republican—intermittently, not concurrently or sequentially, which should obviate any erroneous impression of partisanship.