New York: Although he’s not on the ballot, US president Donald Trump is closing out his 2018 midterm campaign with a 2020 pitch - a glossy $ 6 million television ad that plays on the red meat of grim contrasts between the great financial crash in Barack Obama’s time and the booming US economy of 2018. Trump's norm busting 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale is hoping will connect with voters at an "emotional" level.
The TV spot opens with a mom brushing her daughter’s hair before school while the television drones on in the living room. “When I think about how things are, it reminds me how far we’ve come…”, intones a soft female voice, as the visuals cut from 2010’s recession to the protagonist moving into a new home, wearing a broad smile. Both mom and daughter have dark/ brunette hair. Shot in sombre mood lighting, the ad's voiceover sends out a warning while the mom drives her child to a violin recital: “But this could all change if we don’t remember where we all came from” - and the visuals cut back to the financial crash. “Things are getting better, we can’t go back” reads the closing frame, “paid for by Donald J Trump for President, Inc.”
The approximately 1 minute long ad comes even as the party of Trump pulls closer in the US House election map - one where the Republicans had barely a long shot until now. As things stand today, the Republicans, according to some polls, are within 5 seat difference of Democrats to retaining control. Most polls have been predicting that the US House and Senate will likely go in opposite directions but the Republicans are coming within striking distance on both sides now.
Our new TV ad. Things are getting better. We can’t go back. Nov 6th 2018. Vote Republican. Embedded version! pic.twitter.com/lqem7doZ5G
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) October 29, 2018
Coming back to this latest ad, Team Trump skewers CNN, officially loathed by the US President. The TV news that’s playing inside the ad begins with a clip from a CNN New Day morning show noting the historic high economic numbers under President Trump. Parallels are already being drawn between the style and mood of this ad and Ronald Reagan’s reelection pitch in 1984. The economy narrative and the supporting data have found plenty of takers: “On Friday, we saw the results for the second quarter since the ‘tax scam’ went into effect. And guess what? Its unexpectedly strong 3.5 percent annualized growth is a strong follow-up to the 4.1 percent growth in the second quarter of the year. Together, that makes for the best two-quarter stretch since 2014”, reports Washington Times. For his part, the marketer with the scruffy beard who’s behind this new Trump campaign is living up the renewed attention: “I might not be the right choice for everyone but I am the right choice for him (Trump), Parscale told the New York Times. Early this year, Parscale was chosen by Trump’s son Eric and son in law Jared Kushner to lead the 2020 campaign. This ad is that effort’s coming out party. “Supporting the Parscale choice, Kusher says he knows how to do things in a “Trumpian” way. Left wing pundits are calling the commercial more “super bowl ad” and "unprecedented." Parscale puts it differently: “You have to make people feel things. The first iPhone was sold based on how great pictures of your family look on it, not how great a phone it is” Parscale said in a rash of interviews Monday. With exactly seven days to go before the 2018 midterms, Donald Trump has already raised more than $100 million for his 2020 bid. In an internal memo, White House political director Bill Stepien has pre-empted any complaints from within about Trump making the 2018 midterms all about Trump despite not being on the ballot: “The 2018 Senate map is only (potentially) favorable because of the way President Trump rewrote it in 2016”, he wrote. In the same memo, there is an effort to scrub the old taxonomy of red and blue states: “These are NOT ‘red states’ or ‘Republican states’ — they are ‘Trump states”, Stepien wrote. Meanwhile, the migrant caravan is a gift that keeps on giving to the Trump’s law and order storyline. “Do not come! This migrant caravan is not getting in. There are legal ways to enter this country” - is the firm answer from Trump’s trusted aide in the DHS Kirstjen Nielsen. “Every action is on the table to stop them”, she said. The 2018 midterms is a test case for Trump's appeal with the base that put him into the White House in 2016. Immigration is what got them to the voting booth then. With the near perfect timing of the migrant caravan showing up on the other side of the border; the Trump campaign is in a sweet spot. Sample this slice from a Monday tweetstorm:
Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border. Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process. This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 29, 2018
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Updated Date: Oct 30, 2018 06:52:52 IST