There are many ways to win an election, many paths to the mountaintop that is victory in a political race. Generally speaking, a candidate and party that create and project the more positive, realistic, and forward-looking vision will prevail. The corollary is equally true: Negative campaigns are more often conducted by candidates who have little else to put forward, which signals desperation and likely defeat. History has repeatedly demonstrated that voters demand to know what each candidate offers and how their lives might be affected if they elect that person, not just each candidate’s opinion of how godawful the other contestant is.
But what happens when the political cupboard is bare, when your party and its leader are sinking at warp political speed, underwater on every issue from the economy to foreign affairs to even the pandemic? When Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, Democrats were downright embarrassed, and their response was to lash out and openly question the legitimacy of the outcome (yes, Trump in 2020 was hardly the first to do so). They then constructed fantasies, headed by the two-year-long Russia collusion hoax, supplied with oxygen by dominant corporate media in a four-year campaign of hate against Trump. Establishment forces in government, industry, and finance colluded to take Trump down — it was all laid out in a detailed and shockingly truthful admission by writer Molly Ball in Time magazine — and in the end succeeded in shamelessly exploiting a deadly virus to put the final nail in his coffin.
However, the unique circumstances that allowed Joe Biden to land in the White House will no longer be present in 2024. The pandemic presumably will have completed its path of destruction across the globe, eliminating it as an issue to exploit. Having fully and finally exposed themselves as fraudulent, one-sided journalists by kneecapping Trump and gushing over the subsequently failing Biden, elite media will have sharply diminished — if not entirely drained — their credibility and capacity to influence public opinion.
But the most powerful weapon Republicans were deprived of in 2020 — because of COVID and the fact that Biden obviously had not yet been exposed as a weak president — will be front and center in 2024: a straight-up, head-to-head comparison of the performance of the 45th and 46th presidents. How can the left, on its heels trying to defend a doddering leader and deprived of the tools that enabled their takedown of Trump in ‘20, turn attention away from the debate, which, barring a dramatic change of circumstances, it cannot afford to have on the comparative records of these two presidents?
Well, early indications are that the strategy of Democrats and their handmaidens in elite media will undoubtedly center around the events of Jan. 6, played in a loop for months on end leading up to the election, presuming Trump is the GOP nominee (or perhaps even if he isn’t). But indications are that this time around, the narrative will not be the same as ‘16 and ’20: that Trump is Hitler. That theme has been beaten to death and will work this time only on voters who already hate 45.
No, leftists in the media can’t reprise that same theme music, and thus it appears their goal is to play a head game on GOP voters by attempting to pre-emptively convince them that Trump cannot win the presidency again in 2024, no matter if you like him or not, and that in fact, his candidacy alone will actually cost Republicans an election they should easily win. This storyline is evident in writing across the spectrum of elite anti-Trump journalism.
An op-ed by Republican-turned-Trump-deranged-leftist Jennifer Rubin in a prominent Washington newspaper with deep ties to the Democrats is titled “MAGA candidates are imperiling the GOP’s 2022 dreams.” Another conservative Trump skeptic, Rich Lowry of National Review, penned a piece entitled “How Trump Hurts GOP Populism,” a fascinating premise given that it was Trump who actually introduced populism into the GOP a few years back! Time magazine weighed in recently with “Donald Trump Still Leads the Republicans—And That’s Bad for Almost Everybody.” CNN joins the chorus with “Donald Trump is doing everything he can to hurt Republican chances in 2022.” Then there’s The Guardian’s attempt to make Trump voters think long and hard about who and what they really support with “The Republican party is embracing violence in the name of Trump.”
The fact that the sold-out media have changed their tune from how awful Trump is to how badly he will hurt his own party should be good news for Republicans. This is effectively an admission by the anti-Trump forces that the statute of limitations on the singular strategy of frightening the bejesus out of undecided voters about Trump has been reached. Indeed, the left has adopted a strategy of scaring Republicans about a president they support in overwhelming numbers, which signals nothing less than abject desperation.
~ Read more from Tim Donner.