Three stories caught my attention this morning, all connected in a way. First, IMPOTUS is looking to shift the blame going back to the start of the pandemic:
Donald Trump is blaming the World Health Organization (WHO) for providing what he deems to be a “faulty recommendation,” back when he, Donald Trump, ordered a useless travel ban on China. As we can see, Trump’s decision to not listen to WHO didn’t help stop the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States. Like any and everything Trump says or does, the stench of pathological bullshit is turned up to 11. No one was buying what Trump was trying to sell this morning, and “#YOU BLEW IT” began to trend on social media.
Second, voters in Wisconsin are furious at the GOP for making them risk their lives to vote, and they are voting their fury:
The day began with long lines in Milwaukee, Green Bay and Waukesha. Seething anger mixed with resolve at the end of the line of about 400 voters waiting outside Milwaukee’s Riverside University High School. The line stretched for many blocks and snaked into nearby Riverside Park.A poll worker handed out light-blue masks to voters as they alternated between standing six feet apart and drawing closer together as the line moved.“We decided to risk our lives to come vote,” said Ellie Bradish, 40. “I feel like I’m voting for my neighbors, all the people who don’t have the luxury to wait this long.”
Third, Jennifer Rubin’s op-ed this morning is about more bad news for Trump:
President Trump wants to be a wartime president. However, any rally 'round the flag phenomenon seems short-lived. (Morning Consult, the latest poll to demonstrate this, shows Trump down 13 points in net approval since March 20.) By contrast, former vice president Joe Biden is holding up well, despite (or is it because of?) the enormous imbalance in coverage between him and the president.
But then she offers this word of caution:
First, we are only in early April, meaning Trump has seven months to convince voters he did not fail to recognize the threat of the pandemic, did not fail to exert presidential leadership, did not mislead the American people and did not abdicate responsibility for the worst domestic disaster in more than 100 years.
This is exactly what he’s trying to do by blaming the WHO, blaming China (which is at fault, but that doesn’t excuse Trump, since he was told what was really happening in China), blaming the Democrats, blaming pretty much everyone except himself and his family.
Here’s a good summary of Trump’s refusal to act: The timeline of Trump’s coronavirus response is increasingly damning, and includes a link to this story: U.S. intelligence reports from January and February warned about a likely pandemic (including it in the President’s Daily Brief).
The common thread in these stories (and these are just from today) is that Trump is aware that he bungled the pandemic from the beginning, and more importantly, he sees that the voters are starting to see it that way. And they are getting angry. So Trump not only is panicking, he has reason to panic. He sees his only way out as blaming someone else for his mistakes.
Here is the obvious campaign strategy starting now: Use Trump’s own words and actions in clear, plain language and throw them back at him. “You BLEW it!” is a great simple opening and closing line to a hundred ads.
Do this every day without waiting for him to attack. Make him respond instead. Control the dialogue. Keep it up. Every day. From now until — not November — January 20, 2021, because even after he loses he can still do a lot of damage.
We have to hit first, hard, continuously, and factually. Never let up.
(Anecdotal note: a friend who voted for Obama twice and then for Trump — partly because she hates Hillary — has come around to saying she will NOT vote for him again. However, she did repeat the China-is-to-blame narrative being fed by Fox, and thinks Trump is doing the right thing with HCQ. On the other hand, she listens when I point out the flaws in her positions. And since we’re doing this on Facebook, a lot of her right-wing friends are reading this, and some — well, a few — are reachable.)
Also remember that a re-election is supposed to be about the incumbent. Bush won in 2004 because he made it about John Kerry instead. Carter lost to Reagan, well, for a lot of reasons, but he let the election be about him. Trump has been desperate to either keep Biden from being nominated or to keep the focus on Biden; he even got impeached for trying to force Ukraine to give dirt on Biden. Trump knows that if the election is about him, he will lose.
Let’s make this the one and only time he’s right.