Trump’s Mainstream Media Campaign: Liner Notes

Today’s column at The Federalist asks “Why Is President Trump Campaigning In The Liberal Media?“, to which I present three major answers.

I suspect casual readers may find the column a bit pro-Trump, when the subtext of the piece is about the hole in which his re-elect campaign finds itself. The inspiration here is the Time magazine cover story referenced in the piece, which I found overly shallow and credulous. That piece seemed to suggest that prior presidents did not have to grind their way to second terms. George W. Bush won a fairly narrow re-election; Barack Obama became the first president since Washington to win a smaller popular and Electoral College vote in a first re-election, against a good man who was a bad candidate. The idea that those campaigns were not focused on turnout borders on the bizarre.

Conversely, both of those campaigns also worked on persuasion — as Trump will, for the reasons stated in the column. Trump is already making his case, but once the Democrats narrow their field, it is fairly clear Trump (and the GOP generally) will be heavily campaigning on dissuasion. Republican operatives went so far as to tell the New York Times they plan to focus on the the extremism fueling the Democrats — and I do think that should be credited far more than the current Trump campaign line that all they care about is turnout. The dissuasion will be used to drive turnout.

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