Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, shut up about Stormy Daniels already! Rest easy, in this article Stormy Daniels is a sign post, not the destination.
Yesterday I wrote an article chronicling how Stormy Daniels and her lawyer are kicking Trump around in the media playground like an old soccer ball. But, as I finished it up, I realized that Stormy Daniels is just another in a long string of events that highlight a growing Trump and GOP messaging problem.
Pop quiz! How have the Republicans managed to dominate for so long with so few actual ideas, and all of them shitty? Answer, they have been the undisputed masters of message manipulation. Let me show you what I mean.
Just look at recent history, In 2008, the GOP tried to stall the candidacy of Barack Obama by letting outside conservative mouth breathers and carpet chewers question Obama’s actual legitimacy, questioning his birth certificate. This worthless contention dominated news cycle after news cycle, distracting from Obama’s actual message. And who was by far the most prominent GOP bed wetter? The current Toddler in Chief of course.
The GOP basically condemned the Affordable Care Act to failure even before it was signed into law. They did this by jumping in first and establishing the messaging of the bill. They damned it as filthy “socialized medicine,” complete with nonsensical “death panels,” courtesy of the Wasilla Trailer Trash. They even infiltrated Democratic town halls, railing against the bill, making it appear in the media as if even Democratic voters opposed it.
They motivated their base, and influenced the 2016 election with Trump’s obnoxious “Mexicans are rapists” comments, and talk of a Muslim ban. Forget the fact that most people don’t believe that Mexicans are rapists, and bear no animus against Muslims, the GOP once again set the parameters of the narrative, and in so doing, brought out large numbers of sympathetic racist voters who finally fond their voice.
But since the election, something has changed. The Republicans seem to have lost their game. I think I know where the problem is. When your opponent is trying to articulate something, especially something longer than a bumper sticker, it’s easy to jump the gun and message it your own way, with no logic or reasoning required. But since taking control, the GOP has struggled to define their messaging, and the Democrats have beaten them to the punch every time.
Take healthcare. This time it was the Democrats that got there first, and set the message. They painted the GOP plan as returning us to the middle ages of healthcare, consigning millions of citizens to a lifetime of medical despair, all while stuffing the pockets of the rich. And they won it convincingly, bringing people out into the streets in front of their representatives offices, broadcast on the nightly news.
They did the same thing with the Muslim ban and the wall. Mass protests in the streets, and especially at the airports protesting the Muslim ban. Tearful stories of long awaited family reunions being put off, Iraqi interpreters who risked their lives assisting our troops being told they weren’t welcome here, people stranded at international airports. Ditto for the rollback of DACA, and their ham handed deportations. Law abiding families being torn apart bu jackbooted thugs in ICE windbreakers. Women and children forced into sanctuary at churches. And the cherry on top, an undocumented immigrant child, being wheeled out on a hospital bed following surgery, to be taken to an ICE facility.
And look at the tax cut debacle. But when you think about it, this one shouldn’t even count. I mean, come on, it’s easy to do a slam dunk when your opponent throws you the alley-oop pass. The GOP hadn’t even written the title page for their bill, and already the Democrats had slammed it as a giveaway to the rich on the backs of the poor and middle class. What really sealed the deal is that they were right! Everything in the actual bill just reinforced what the Democrats had been saying. The coup de grace was having a sunset clause for the personal tax cuts, while the corporate tax cuts were eternal. Way to telegraph that hanging slider GOP.
And the Democrats are still doing it on smaller levels. In PA-18, Paul Ryan’s PAC spent millions on ads trying to portray Conor Lamb as a Nancy Pelosi sheep, with nothing to show for it. And the GOP ran 2 out of every 3 ads for a month touting their vaunted tax cuts, only to pull them when polling showed that they weren’t resonating. And now you have Stormy Daniels, taking Trump over the falls for being such a randy lad.
So, if you look at it in a broader context, while Stormy Daniels is a fresh new twist on an old classic, what she’s doing isn’t anything new, it’s simply a more titillating subject. But it is a confirmation that both Trump and the GOP are consistently losing the media messaging war, and just n time for the 2018 midterms. Let’s just make sure that we keep the pressure on them, don’t let them get their mojo back.