Let's begin with Hillary's brutal new ad starring Trump and David Letterman. I'd somehow missed it when it was first released a few weeks back, but I happened to catch it while watching Olympics coverage in a swing state over the weekend. Its impact instantly reminded me of a bruising commercial the Obama campaign ran against Mitt Romney last cycle. Basically, this guy claims to want to Make America Great Again, but he manufactures his own product lines abroad, including in some of the countries he loves to scapegoat on the stump. Message: The man is a self-serving hypocrite who purports to be a protectionist "America first" warrior for US workers, but his actions tell another story. Watch:
Aside from the Romney call-back, two thoughts immediately jumped to mind: (1) Where were Trump's GOP rivals on this stuff? and (2) surely the Trump camp has fired back at Hillary with its own withering ad exposing her face-melting hypocrisy related to the Clinton Foundation's many undisclosed foreign entanglements and financial ties to sordid regimes -- which, unlike Trump's business decisions, violated federal ethics agreements, and possibly the law. On the first point, I quickly recalled that several Republican presidential contenders did, in fact, hit Trump over foreign labor and overseas manufacturing. Trump's plurality of the GOP electorate didn't care; they were too busy reveling in their man's latest playground insult. On the second item, I checked Trump's website in search of his latest ads, if only to provide one here to balance out this post. Not only is there no rapid response spot about the Clinton Foundation (here's a fairly weak effort from a SuperPAC), his "ads" page hasn't been updated since April.
If you don't believe me, you're more than welcome to click through and take in a number of months-old attacks on Ted Cruz. The Trump camp did release an email scandal video in early July, but it didn't actually air anywhere -- nor have any general election ads paid for by his campaign. Zero. She's still shutting him out on the airwaves. It's mid-August, he's unequivocally losing, yet his camp is still in the process of looking at reserving airtime in the fall. For the sake of fairness, here's a pro-Trump television spot from the NRA that is airing in swing states, as well as an ad hitting Hillary's pay-to-play personal enrichment machine from an outside group. Keep in mind that these independent expenditures on Trump's behalf have been dwarfed by the pro-Hillary forces:
Perhaps Trump should spend less time lashing out at the "crooked" media (his views on the First Amendment are as suspect as ever) and breezily discussing the "very nice" vacation he'd take upon losing the election, and more time assuring panicking Republicans that he's moving swiftly and seriously to correct course in key states. This is a positive step on that front, but how in hell did it take this long? Speaking of panic, I'll leave you with Trump's historic standing among the nation's largest age-based voting bloc:
USA Today poll shows Clinton leading Trump 56-20 among voters under 35. https://t.co/XMNEDxHXUo— Gideon Resnick (@GideonResnick) August 14, 2016
Young people don't like Hillary Clinton, but she's throttling a man they dislike even more. If you think this is a "fake" or "rigged" poll (no, the polls aren't skewed), you're entitled to your opinion. But don't be shocked when Trump loses, badly damaging the GOP's already-struggling image among key demographic groups in the process.
Parting thought: One of the alleged appeals of Trump among his primary season followers is that he fights, and would hammer Hillary mercilessly, like none other. He clinched the GOP nomination nearly four months ago, yet he hasn't spent one dime on television ads fighting back against her on-air onslaught, which (along with his mouth and the media) has kept his support stuck in the upper 30's and low-40's. Sure, he's experienced poor fundraising overall, but another argument for him was that he's a billionaire self-funder. In January, he said he hadn't even started going after his longtime friend and financial beneficiary yet. He repeated almost the exact same excuse a few weeks ago, six months later. When, exactly, will he deign to "get started"? And no, don't tell me that the moral of this story is that he's still somewhat competitive despite spending almost nothing against her. His standing has clearly deteriorated, especially in the swing states where she's trouncing him over the air.
UPDATE - Much like Trump on Brexit, Benson gets results: