Monday, August 22, 2016

Revenge of the Rulebook

It turns out that some of the conventional wisdom about American presidential politics still applies
As the primary season went on, Donald Trump’s remarkable success led Republican politicians and media alike to conclude that the old political “rulebook” had been rewritten. Experience, television ads, and retail campaigning were no longer necessary. Outlandish boasts and off-color language led to Trump’s rallies being broadcast live on cable news, and that was the only campaign tool he needed.
Since the convention, however, Trump has struggled mightily, suggesting that some of the old rules of American politics still very much apply. Namely:
Trump's first ad
1. Maybe television advertising is overrated, but it’s not something a campaign can give up entirely. For the past two months, Hillary Clinton’s campaign and allied groups have aired $104 million worth of television ads, Trump-aligned outside groups have spent $12.4 million on ads, and the Trump campaign has spent . . . absolutely nothing.
One can argue over how valuable it is to spend money in July and August. But in the weeks since the Democratic convention, Clinton’s lead has boomed, both nationally and in key swing states — and the relentless pro-Clinton and anti-Trump messages on American TV screens are surely a factor. Trump’s first general-election television ads hit the air on Friday.
2. It helps to have a lot of campaign offices in states you need to win. How much of Trump’s slump in the swing states reflects weak organization in those states? If you live in a swing state, has a friend, neighbor, or local resident knocked on your door, making the pitch for the Republican nominee? Are Trump staffers gathering volunteers and staying in touch, building up supporter lists, preparing for absentee-ballot requests, prepping for the early voting that begins in October for most states? Given the news reports, it seems highly doubtful that you could answer either of those questions in the affirmative.
This is where things stand --->
Read the rest of Jim Geraghty's op-ed HERE.

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