Friday, July 29, 2016

Playing the Long Game

I was mystified by Hillary's advertising strategy.  In 2012, with airwave superiority Obama bombed Romney's character, defining the race.  Hillary with even greater control of the airwaves, went positive, detailing her work for children.  Even her belated negative ads were soft--children watching Trump's greatest bits.

Free media is always more powerful than paid media.  Ads work when they focus and amplify free media.  Trump was having a bad June.  This was an obvious opening for attack ads against Trump.  Meanwhile, negative coverage of Hillary continued culminating in FBI Director Comey's harsh words.  Positive ads did not move the needle.

Hillary was playing the long game.  She does not want a yoyo diet of up and down polls.  She was softening hearts and opening minds, to close the sale at the Democratic convention.  To paraphrase, James Carville, it's all about the children, stupid.  If she can hold most of the Obama coalition, and pick off white married women, she will win handily.  The message of the convention: She cares about children and their future, Trump, not so much.  Children are the key to unlocking suburbia.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

A Tale of Two Cities

It was the worst of prime times, it was the best of prime times.  Hillary had so many all stars that some were bumped out of the heart of the line up.  But for Trump's procreative powers, Scott Baio might have spoken all 4 nights.  Even so, Trump committed the cardinal sin of dead air during network coverage.

The master of media is even losing the ratings game.  More people are watching the Democratic convention.  Hillary's entertainers are A listers, Trump's aspire to one day be B listers.  Hillary in a tour de force shattered the glass ceiling.  Trump turned from orange to Blue.

Pennsylvania and Ohio, earned the conventions as battle ground states.  Conventions are heavily covered nationwide, but  local media doubles down.  Trump's play for positive Ohio press was neutralized, by the storyline of Kasich's absence.  Meanwhile, the first major pole to cover the VP pick and the first 2 nights of the convention has Hillary up 9 points in Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Helping Nicole Wallace

Nicole Wallace said, she is considering switching parties because the Democratic Convention has better music.  Of course she is right.  The RNC had elevator music, while we have elevating music.  We have Alicia Keyes, they had Scott Baio humming stage right.

But let's help Nicole with her conversion.  We had Meryl Streep, the GOP had the star of Duck Dynasty.  They had Melania crib from Michelle Obama, we had Michelle give a speech for the ages.  We have two presidents speaking, they had two presidents hiding.

Speaking of presidents, Bill told more endearing anecdotes and inspiring stories about our candidate than Melania and the entire Trump brood could manage in five prime time speeches.  The Trump children are good speakers, they just had a bad subject.

Finally Nicole, we have nominated Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine.  The GOP has a ticket with a narcissist on the top, and an extremist on the bottom.  Nicole, isn't it time you fight for the right to change parties?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Bernie's Babies

Convention delegates are usually seasoned pros with strong party connections.  They, through their candidate, extract concessions before falling in line behind the winner. Bernie has gotten extraordinary platform concessions, as well as reforms in the nominating process.  Seasoned pros, and that includes those few among Sanders delegates, declare victory and live to fight another day.

But Bernie is a life long independent with only a dotted line relationship to the Democratic Party.   His delegates are primarily freshly minted voters attending their first convention.  They drank the revolutionary Kool-Aid, and are now crashing from the sugar high.  They not only believed in the revolution, but were sure of its imminence.  The idealism of the young is their strength and their weakness.

Unlike his delegates, Bernie's voters have mainly moved over to Hillary.  They are made up of many long time Democrats fearful of Trump.  Unfortunately, Sanders delegates are unconcerned that their tantrums may hurt the chances of undecideds buying the Democratic ticket.  When Bill Clinton addressed the convention in support of Obama, he brought the house down.  This time, part of the house may come down on him.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Open Letter to Trump Supporters

You believe Trump will be a better president than Hillary.  That is why we have elections.  But please consider withholding your vote until you see his full tax returns.

Trump and his oldest son have actively sought loans and investments from Russian Oligarchs with ties to Putin.  If we are talking about 10 or 20 million who cares.  On the other hand, if it is hundreds of millions, enough to crater a project if funds are withheld or withdrawn, we need to know.   Trump has taken the most pro Russia positions of any major party candidate since World War II.  Once again who cares unless the so called Bromance with Putin includes a major dowry.

The returns will be helpful for other reasons.  If you are voting for Trump because of his business acumen, the returns will quantify his success or lack of success.  But that pales in comparison to the chance, however small, that we might elect a president influenced by a foreign power.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Trump Hearts Putin

The old saw that banks are robbed because that is where the money is, parallels politicians seeking contributions form mega-banks and Wall Street.  Money buys access, but Trump has been unable to show that it has influenced Hillary's policies.

The case against Trump is much clearer.  As Trump's debt load has increased, and U.S banks have denied him loans, he has become increasingly reliant on investments from Russian Oligarchs with ties to Putin.  This has influenced the Trump campaign.  He hired Paul Manafort to run the campaign.  Manafort spent 10 years working for a pro Putin politician in the Ukraine.  The only platform the Trump campaign actively altered was that on the Ukraine.  In a stark reversal, the GOP platform no longer supports aiding the Ukraine in fending off Russian intervention.  Trump is now taking positions to undermine NATO, the primary barrier to Russian expansion.  The insult candidate has had only kind words for Putin.

Putin has returned the favor.  Russian state media is backing Trump.  Russia hacked the DNC.  Those hacked emails have been released just before the Democratic Convention, trying to drive a wedge between Sanders supporters and Hillary Clinton.

Perhaps Trump's cozy relationship with Russia is the primary reason he will never release his tax returns.

For a deeper analysis see:

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Trump Speech Was Shocking

Acceptance speeches are easy.  With candidate input, the greatest speech writers spend weeks crafting  the perfect message.  The candidate has ample time to practice, and can read from a teleprompter.

Virtually all acceptance speeches are excellent.  Even Sarah Palin gave a great speech.  I was certain Trump would do no less.  I was so pleased to be surprised.  The Trump speech was unstructured, overly long, dark and policy impaired.  Whatever content there was died for lack of context and flow.  His shouting delivery did not help.

Great Broadway Musicals, leave you singing, or at least humming, a tune.  A good acceptance speech leaves you with a line.  Even Palin had her pit bull/lipstick line.  The Trump speech had nothing.