Last night, the Washington Nationals came from behind to win the World Series, capping a seven-game affair in which the home team lost every single game. It is the first championship in franchise history. Amid their victory celebration, President Trump tweeted a congratulatory note to the team, whose fans famously booed and heckled the president at game five in DC:
Congratulations to the Washington Nationals on a great season and an incredible World Series. Game 7 was amazing! @Nationals— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2019
Those watching the game at home may have seen a new television ad from Team Trump, which aired a 30-second spot as part of a seven-figure nationwide buy:
An advertisement in favor of President Trump's reelection ran during Game 7 of the World Series on Wednesday night. The 30-second ad, which was later tweeted out by Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, focused on the president's record but also hit Democrats over their impeachment inquiry into the president...A Trump campaign official told The Hill in an email that the ad is part of a 7-figure national buy that will extend beyond the World Series.
The commercial drives home three messages. It begins by touting the president's accomplishments -- highlighting economic improvements, decreased illegal immigration levels, and achievements in the fight against ISIS -- then shifts to blasting Congressional Democrats for focusing on impeachment, instead of "real issues." Returning to the theme of changing Washington, the ad concludes with an interesting admission that Trump is "no Mr. Nice Guy," effectively arguing that it sometimes takes a jerk to get difficult things done. Watch for yourself:
Setting aside some economic softness, ongoing challenges with immigration, and (now mitigated) fears that ISIS may have an opportunity to reconstitute in Syria, these are strong themes for Trump. Reminding independent voters that the economy is in strong shape overall, and that ISIS' caliphate has been eliminated (and its notorious top leader liquidated) is a no-brainer, as is reminding the base that he's still paying attention to immigration. Framing the current impeachment fight in DC as obsessed partisans versus a focused, getting-things-done president is also wise, especially given the level of under-reported public unease (especially in battleground states) about removing him from office. Trump would help himself immensely by behaving as such, of course, but he can't help himself. As he said recently, he's the anti-impeachment team.
But it's the "no Mr. Nice Guy" line that stood out to me. The campaign must have some internal data (or, you know, just this) showing that many voters don't like Trump personally, and that he needs to win a significant chunk of those people over. Perhaps a decision has been made to lean into this flaw, telling voters that a somewhat nasty brute is needed to take on DC, suggesting that even if one doesn't like the president, his accomplishments are too important to be boiled down to a personality contest. You work with what you've got, I suppose. Of course, the more likable presidential candidate almost always wins, which is something Democratic primary voters ought to consider. I'll come full circle and leave you with this thought about the Nats' victory and a beloved former colleague:
He was a devoted and passionate super-fan.