A new conservative group funded by the Ricketts family -- who are apparently unbowed by Donald Trump's bullying -- has produced a new ad that offers Republican voters a disquieting glimpse at how Democrats and the media will assail the controversial billionaire if he becomes the party's presidential nominee. Race-baiting is a common demonization tactic of the Left, so it's no surprise that Democrats plan to play that card against an opponent -- but Donald Trump's record and words hand them an enormous amount of material to work with. If you watch this video and think it's unfair, you're going to hate the general election if Trump's the nominee:
Details about the organization, via the New York Times:
A “super PAC” that was formed with a major donation from a member of the Ricketts family is boosting its staff and planning a full-fledged campaign against Donald J. Trump — and his surrogates — in an effort to thwart his rise, including hiring the former communications director to Jeb Bush and creating an opposition research wing...the group is planning to focus on daily opposition research attacks on Mr. Trump, particularly in March 8 and March 15 states, officials with the group said. Among their new tasks is attacking not just Mr. Trump but also his high-profile supporters, such as Gov. Chris Christie. And there will be additional focus on Mr. Trump’s words and business record, according to officials with the group...“A K.K.K. sympathizer who screwed over regular people to enrich himself isn’t going to win the White House. Donald’s general election campaign will fail worse than Trump Mortgage and Trump Steaks did and Hillary Clinton will destroy him even if she is campaigning from jail. We will fight until the last delegate is counted to stop that from happening,” Mr. Miller said in a statement.
I don't think it's fair to call Trump a KKK sympathizer, though that won't stop the Left from hurling borderline-slanders (rooted in some measure of truth) on a daily basis, no matter how many lawsuits Trump threatens to file. But KKK types clearly sympathize with him, and his Sunday segment with Jake Tapper was at the very least a public relations catastrophe that raises serious questions about Trump's ability to drive a necessary message. He's known as a brilliant media manipulator who bends and drives national narratives to his advantage. Much of that reputation is well-earned. But when it came to clearly denouncing white supremacist David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan, Trump inexplicably lied about knowing who Duke was, and took several passes on the Klan -- the latter of which he still has not unambiguously condemned. In his subsequent damage control answers, Trump has ignored the Klan entirely, and has used the word "disavow" over and over in response to inquiries about Duke. He almost never says who he's "disavowing," or why. This may be attributed to Trump's inarticulateness and odd speaking pattern. Many will wonder if there's something else at play. It's a political Rorschach test: Trump backers will hear multiple repudiations and declare additional questions evidence of persecution and egregious bias. Trump loathers will see a man playing games with words, still winking at overt racists, whose votes he covets. Still others will wonder, uncomfortably, which side is right.
Regardless of what resides in Trump's heart, the Democrats and their media allies will ruthlessly pound the storyline into voters' psyche that Trump is either a bigot himself, or he's relying on rank bigotry in his campaign. They'll trot out reports of Trump's father getting arrested in a KKK brawl. They'll highlight the Justice Department's race discrimination case against the Trump company from the 1970s ("C is for 'colored'"), which was eventually settled. They'll focus on Trump's ridiculous birther crusades against President Obama (talk about a mobilizer for black voters), and later two Republican rivals...who just also happen to be brown people, they'll add. And they'll have additional tricks up their sleeve, in addition to Trump's laundry list of comments about women, his scam university -- a court in New York has just allowed that fraud trial to proceed -- and his dumpster fire of a mortgage company. This should be an unnerving prospect to any Republican voter who hasn't bought into the fantasy that Trump's teflon act will still apply in a general election setting:
One DEMOCRATIC oppo-researcher says 80% of the stuff they have on Trump hasn’t come out yet https://t.co/0o77pwMsaX— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) February 25, 2016
I'd imagine that at least a sizable portion of that yet-unreleased oppo will drop between now and March 15 (speaking of which, Trump should release his tax returns and allow the New York Times to produce this audio), but if the tycoon manages to survive the coming onslaught, Democrats will have months to seed these attacks and carpet bomb him in swing states. Remember, his polling fundamentals are already terrible. Trump had a winning but less-than-spectacular night on Super Tuesday, capturing far fewer than half the allocated delegates, losing four states (he was expected to lose maybe one), and barely hanging on in three more. He has the clear inside track to the nomination, but there is a very substantial segment of Republican voters who find him totally unacceptable, and it appears that a week of feverish attacks from Rubio and Cruz dented Trump's vote-getting capacity. And that happened before many of these criticisms really penetrated the national discussion:
It appears that the only path to stop Trump now entails a delegate slow bleed, forcing the frontrunner to limp into Cleveland without the requisite majority to clinch the nomination. That's a very risky bet for anti-Trump folks to make, but because the consolidation path never materialized, it's becoming their only bet.