AS DECISION 2016 HITS THE HOME STRETCH, BRACE YOURSELVES FOR A NASTY FALL CAMPAIGN
By Jackson Omondi
Both campaigns know that elections are largely decided after labor day. This is the time when most voters start to pay attention to the presidential race. Having filed other distractions like the Olympics under “Done” folder, most voters start to really focus on the kitchen table issues and reconcile their beliefs with what the candidates espouse.
With the first presidential debate just days away, voters are now interrogating real policies and the campaigns are also busy serving them doses of easily digestible policy white papers. Millions of dollars of paid advertising are also bombarding the air waves as both sides race to define one another.
Pythagoras Strategies now takes you inside the campaign ‘war rooms’ of both sides. A war room is the campaign’s nucleus, a nerve centre where the campaign image makers, messaging gurus, rapid response experts, opposition research, fact-checkers and political spinmasters are domiciled. They control whatever you see around the candidate, what the Candidate says, wears and whom he or she talks to. They also shield the candidate from unnecessary attacks and swiftly counter any opposition salvos.
A look at the suits around Donald Trump points to where and how he intends to wage the fall campaign. Trump hired two men who are known for hard-nosed, smash-mouth politics. The campaign chair is a well known negative advertisement guru whose political pedigree dates back to the Nixon years in the White House. His former partner is the late Lee Atwater, a man whose packaging of Governor Michael Dukakis, the then Democratic nominee for President in 1988 was so nasty that it still sends chills down the spines of many Democrats.
Dukakis, a gentleman by all accounts, was turned into a political ogre, his family was subjected to an unprecedented ridicule enroute to a decisive defeat in the hands of the then Republican nominee and vice president George H W Bush. Atwater’s protege is none other than Karl Rove, who also made both Al Gore and John Kerry look like cartoon characters!
That’s the man that will be calling the shots and determining what goes on air. Just to get a little flavor of where they want to go, just listen to Trump’ s doppelganger Mayor Rudy Giuliani who shoots from the hip by testing out outrageous things so that Trump can use them on trail. Is there any wonder that Clinton’s health is now becoming an issue on the trail?
Expect political throwbacks like a relitigation of the Lewinsky scandal.
On the Democratic side, Clinton’s team is largely a mixture of Obama 08 &’12 alumni. The belligerent nature of Trump has made it easy for Team Hillary to simply replicate President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s 1964 strategy against the then Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater whose demeanor and careless verbal comportment cost him the election.
Donald Trump, just like Barry Goldwater, doesn’t care about what comes out of his mouth. The cavalier talk and shoot-first- ask questions-later mien is never a politically smart trait. Barry Goldwater used to make jokes about using nuclear weapons and he repeatedly made it clear that he couldn’t wait to use them. Sounds familiar?
All it took was a simple black and white video popularly known as “the Daisy ad” and the Senator was sent packing. The Daisy ad debuted on television in 1964 and it basically showed a young girl playing and counting rose petals while someone on the background was simultaneously counting down to a nuclear explosion which ends with a huge explosion that annihilates every living thing!
The gist of the ad was to portray Goldwater as careless and dangerous, a man who couldn’t be trusted with the nuclear codes. Americans got the message and the Daisy ad is now known as the mother of modern negative political advertising.
This is what Team Hillary is doing. They have packaged Trump as dangerous and careless. All ads hitting the TV stations are now showing vulnerable kids in a delicate world where steady leadership is needed.
Trump’s rich history of gaffes and cavalier rhetoric is a steady reservoir that team Hillary is constantly tapping into. As the campaign tightens, expect more hardhitting ads touching on Trump’s judgement.
Pythagoras Strategies will also provide a pre-debate and post-debate analysis.