Several weeks ago, Bill Maher offered his services to coach the Democrats on how to win the election in 2020. Two of his ideas were particularly smart and yet I see no sign that the Democrats have a prepared strategy to fight Trump. He said that the candidates MUST give in to the normalization of name-calling on the campaign trail, as Trump is doing it again and it works for him. To constantly be labeled a derogatory, clownish name and then ignore it, makes one look weak in today’s politics.
It is self-sabotaging for Democrats to think that being the mature, bigger person will win votes over the entertainment performance that Trump offers up to his base by branding opponents in derogatory ways. The right label for Trump would be a reminder to voters of the pathological flaws in his character.
Democrats will lose this election in 2020 if they keep thinking that talking good policy is enough to win. Unfortunately, politics is a game and if the game is that one side gets aggressive and dirty and the other side takes the “the higher ground”, the latter will usually lose. This fact has been proven true with Trump, as when he emasculated all of his 2016 Republican opponents. He came out the “strong man”, the “voice of change” and he faked his way into the hearts and minds of people needing someone to entertain and “save” them.
Maher also mentioned the use of “talking points” such as Trump, “no collusion, no obstruction” chant. Trump uses false talking points, and the repetition of them seeps into the minds of people wanting to believe in anything that he says. Another talking point Trump’s uses effectively is “The Democrats want to take away your guns.” Over and over again he repeats these talking points in almost an autistic-like verbal pattern. The points are false but have become part of the narrative that Trump supporters mimic when defending him.
Donny Deutsch, a world-renowned marketing expert, and host of his own show, Saturday Night Politics on MSNBC, agrees that talking points and labels have worked effectively for Trump. He believes that the Democrats have to engage in strategies that directly deconstruct Trump’s false and negative narratives about Democratic candidates while branding him in ways that reflect his extensive pattern of embarrassing, criminal, and unethical acts.
Another brilliant strategy suggested by Deutsch involves labeling Trump as the assaulter and the Democrats as the protectors. He suggests elaborating on Trump’s assault on the media, racial equality, The Affordable Care Act, Medicare, Social Security, the planet, the environment, etc. as the Democrats fight to preserve these foundational aspects of our lives.
Democrats should be thinking of the perfect moniker for Trump, to test whether his weak ego can handle a label that will accurately reflect his ego sensitive flaws.