From the Politico story:
John Kasich has attacked Donald Trump relentlessly in debates and now his super PAC is planning to invest $2.5 million in the most aggressive takedown of the poll leader yet -- on behalf of an increasingly anxious GOP establishment.Oh, wow -- John Kasich is planning to take Trump on! How can Trump possibly survive that onslaught?
The attack, according to a blueprint shared with POLITICO, will play out over the next two months on radio, TV, mail and online in New Hampshire. Strategists with the pro-Kasich group, called New Day for America, say the budget for the anti-Trump campaign is likely to grow.
Wait, it gets better. Do you know who the Kasich super PAC's adman is?
Fred Davis, the group’s colorful Hollywood-based ad-maker who is best-known for producing the “Demon Sheep” ad in the 2010 California Senate race, is working on a pair of anti-Trump TV ads.Yup, possibly the worst political ad for a major-party candidate ever, in the service of Carly Fiorina's failed Senate campaign.
He's also the genius behind this 2010 ad:
The group’s first volley came Thursday, when it released an ad that pictured the billionaire side by side with President Barack Obama. “On the job training for president does not work,” says the ad, which invokes last week’s tragic Paris terrorist attacks. The group is currently spending about $600,000 to air the commercial, though David said more airtime is being purchased.That would be this ad:
Wow, that's a real attack on Trump -- blink and you miss the split-second when he appears on the screen next to Obama. Following that, the ad has way too much Kasich. Yeah, I know it's a Kasich ad, but ... he's John Kasich. If you really want people to reconsider their support for Trump, you absolutely don't want to tell them their alternative is ... John Kasich.
The effort reported by the Journal has somewhat more promise:
The most concerted effort is Trump Card LLC, the self-styled guerrilla campaign being launched by Liz Mair, the former online communications director of the Republican National Committee....Wilson made this ad, which ran in the 2014 midterms. I can see why voters might respond to it, though I have no idea if any voters actually did:
Rick Wilson, a Republican media consultant, said in an interview that he is prepared to make ads for the new group.
But this seems like a strategy for failure:
The group’s memo said it would be pitching opposition research to media in early-voting states, as well as radio and television ads and Web videos that attract media attention based on their “outrageousness and boundary-breaking or bizarre nature.”No. Trump is clearly impervious to opposition research. Early in his ascent, we learned about his evasion of military service in the Vietnam era and his apparent marital rape of his then-wife Ivana. Nothing stuck.
One possible ad would link Mr. Trump’s views and style to his celebrity foe, Rosie O’Donnell, in hopes of provoking a reaction from Mr. Trump, according to the memo.
And you think you're going to get Trump by encouraging him to lash out at someone? That's playing to his strength. If you try to argue that he's actually like Rosie O'Donnell, he'll just lash out at her in an even uglier way -- to the delight of his fans, who despise her. And remember, his voters don't think such verbal assaults prove he's unfit to be president -- they think the assaults he's a brawler. They see Trump's beefs as evidence confirming his suitability to take on ISIS.
This might be somewhat effective:
Other possible tactics include fake pro-Trump ads that show him supporting socialized medicine, seizing property through eminent domain and taking other positions that stray from GOP orthodoxy; using a Trump impersonator to show him insulting people; and attacking his business record in “stark, nasty terms.”If these ads look like pro-Trump ads, people might be momentarily fooled. But Trump's past support for positions the GOP regards as heretical hasn't hurt him yet, and probably never will.
To understand why, think about Ben Carson. He goes to a lot of trouble to describe himself as a former bad kid who was saved by Jesus. Conservatives Christians love the conversion narrative. Secular conservatives love conversion narratives, too -- remember, Saint Ronald Reagan was a convert to the GOP, a fact he loved to weaponize, to his admirers' delight:
"Mr. President, in talking about the continuing recession tonight, you have blamed mistakes of the past and you've blamed the Congress. Does any of the blame belong to you?" asked ABC White House Correspondent Sam Donaldson.Trump might stumble eventually, though I think he's a strong favorite to win the nomination. But if he does tumble, he'll be taken down by someone who out-demagogues him -- maybe Ted Cruz. He won't be undone by political hacks.
"Yes, because for many years I was a Democrat," replied Mr. Reagan.