By Beverly Mann. Originally published at Angry Bear
Time Magazine serves up a fascinating look at Donald Trump’s evolving campaign strategy, in which Trump and his top advisers leave little doubt that they think they can win mainly by dominating the media environment, in a way that will smash all the old rules of politics.
The piece recaps several recent episodes in which Trump was able to suck up all the media oxygen simply by being himself, and details some frustration in the Clinton camp with the same. But the Clinton team thinks that this dynamic doesn’t necessarily work in Trump’s favor, because much of that media attention is negative, such as when his attacks on a Mexican-American judge exploded across days of critical coverage. All that media focus is only deepening his hole with key general election constituencies. Besides, Clinton is breaking through at key moments, such as when she delivered her recent speech dismantling Trump as dangerously unprepared for the presidency, in part by drawing a sharp contrast between the two candidates’ policy preparedness, or lack of it.
– Donald Trump just said policy won’t matter in this election. He’s wrong., Greg Sargent, Washington Post, today
No, actually Trump’s right, because Clinton and her campaign are ensuring that policy won’t matter in this election.
Two weeks ago when the details from the Trump University deposition and other documents emerged after the judge ordered them released I thought the Trump campaign could not survive it. But as the headlines and details became a major news story Trump made his big play: the judge is biased because he is, Trump thinks, Mexican, and what he’s doing is an outrage and he should be looked into.
Voila! Gone were the headlines, and the media conversations, and consideration by the Clinton campaign (if there had been consideration) of running ads detailing these reports, about the Trump University scam operation and exactly whom it targeted, and how. Instead, the last 10 days or so have been about what Trump said about the judge.
Early this week the Washington Post ran a lengthy article about more details from the release of the lawsuit information. The information was extensive, and the reporter had by then read most of it. As I read the article I thought, maybe this new information will break through the look-what-Trump-said-about-the-judge-because-he’s-Mexican-American loop repeated again and again because another Republican pol said something about it or because Hillary Clinton did or because her campaign released yet another comment, ad, tweet about it.
Mission continues on-track.
The Democrats are nominating someone who believes fundamentally that nothing matters unless it’s about race, ethnicity, gender or religion. She won’t change, even if she actually ventures beyond a rope line in Ohio or Michigan or Indiana and talks to a few blue-collar workers who were laid off because their manufacturing plant closed, and now work for half of their old income and receive no benefits. Some of them have voted Democratic all their lives. And now they think Trump might be their savior.
So they’re considering voting for him, despite, rather than because of, his “Build the Wall” and “Ban Muslims.” They know about the-judge-is-biased-because-he’s-Mexican. They think it’s ridiculous. But it’s not what they care most about.
Yes, the “Mexican” judge comments were ugly. But in a different and also important way, so is what Trump University was. So are the details of that. In fact, Trump believes they’re more important than the judge comments. Which is why he made the judge comments.
Trump says, “Jump.” And everyone does. But especially Clinton does, because Trump knows what to dangle in front of her, and exactly when to dangle it.
Trump University isn’t exactly policy. But it’s bait to get into economic and fiscal policy. Or it would be if Clinton could figure out that there are some things that are already getting all the publicity needed. And some things that matter that aren’t. And that it might be a good idea to inform the public about the latter.
The specifics of what those documents and transcripts show cut to the very heart of who Trump is, just as much, and in just as significant a way, as the race and ethnicity baiting. The difference is that everyone doesn’t already know about it. Or know that Republican pols now know about it but also think he’ll help enact the Ryan fiscal plan.
Even that Japanese WWII soldier still hiding in a cave because he doesn’t know that the war has ended knows about the latest ethnic or racial or gender insult by Trump. But not about much else, because Trump and Clinton and her campaign, along with the news media, partner to ensure that.