Monday, June 13, 2016

Demotivating the Republican Base (Update)

I think this should be an extremely effective ad among people who have, like, a pulse. And maybe emotions. But it's also doing something very interesting, which is targeting evangelical (and other religious) conservatives. Anti-choicers love to talk about children born with disabilities; a child born with a disability is always a "gift" or a "blessing". Obviously they don't actually believe every life is special and sacred, but they like to believe they believe that. So they fetishize children born with disabilities as a way of signaling that they do.

This ad plays directly to that sentiment. The first 20 seconds could easily be taken straight from an anti-abortion ad. It's a slice of conservative-friendly advertising designed to reinforce religious conservatives' uneasiness with a twice-divorced libertine who supports Planned Parenthood. I haven't seen polling on just how vulnerable Trump is among them, but it looks like Mormons at least have their doubts. And Priorities USA is smart to try to capitalize on them.

Religious conservatives aren't going to end up voting for Godless Baby-Killing Hillary (whom the ad doesn't mention). But they might stay home, or vote for Gary Johnson, or write in Zombie Jerry Falwell--anyone but Trump. And losing more than a few of them would be disastrous for him.

Update: Priorities USA has expanded its buy for this ad (scroll way down), which suggests they've seen evidence of its effectiveness.

20 comments:

Victor said...

Yeah,great ad!

More like this!
TRUMP is eaily the least comptent person,to ever run for POTUS,

The more you can point that out withour offending the tender sesibilities of our uber-"Christain" fellow citizens, the better.

This swine is a greedy, racist, power-hungry fraud!!!!!

Yastreblyansky said...

That's great. It's not just targeting religious conservatives, but all of us, showing the conservatives a liberal conversation they can see themselves fitting in to.

Yastreblyansky said...

It also got deeply, deeply under Donald's "very strong, very thick" skin.

Never Ben Better said...

Wow. That is a punch in the gut video. That should resonate with huge swaths of the population.

Never Ben Better said...

LOL, Yas, he is so very easy to troll, isn't he? I bet Hillary goads him into a meltdown during the debates.

Luigi said...

I live in northeast Ohio. We are different than the Bible toting Central and Southern parts of the state. However, this morning, I was eating breakfast in an upscale Columbus-area hotel and I saw this commercial play during the ABC affiliate GMA feed. (I'm an old video guy, so I notice these things.) People stopped eating and looked at the screen. At the end, you could see people were moved. And pissed. It hit these white upper crust evangelicals like a sledge hammer. Who is this cretin who's making fun of handicapped people? These parents are right! We were taught to never be mean to others, much less make fun of them. I think this ad is a game changer in the Bible Belt!

Tom Hilton said...

Luigi, that's very interesting to hear. My guess would be that a lot of people will react that way, but I have no real-world observation to rely on.

Danp said...

People who have learned to merely tolerate Trump will see this ad as nothing more than excessively PC. It's easy to look at an ad like this and see political motivation behind it. If nothing else, these last 20 years have made most observers cynical about maudlin political ads. This ad pisses me off too - not because I disagree with the sentiment, but because it attacks what Trump fans see as straight-forwardness instead of his phoneyness and lack of substance.

Orthodox said...

I think that's part of it. But I also think Trump supporters have somehow managed to immediately categorize his actions and the flak that surrounds them. If he says something offensive that they like, they accuse everyone else of being limp-dicked PC liberals. If he does something offensive that they wouldn't agree with (at least publicly), it's all a lie.

Never Ben Better said...

Well, this won't work with his diehard fans, but for habitual Republicans who are leaning toward him but uneasy, ambivalent, this could be all the push they'd need to just not pull that lever.

petrilli said...

I don't think it's appreciated enough that Trump flatly denies he did it. Even though it's shown on camera, his arms pulled up and crimped, miming in parody of Serge Kovaleski's affliction. Just like Rick Santorum's "Blah people" statement. Santorum said it, its on tape, yet he continues to deny reality. This ad is clever in that it repeats the video of Trump's mockery in such a way as to leave little doubt about the cruelty on display. Only a self deluded person could deny what the tape shows. But the "lyin' eyes" strategy is still an effective one for millions of voters who need that fig leaf of permission to suspend their disbelief. Its a common ploy in the entertainment business that makes science fiction possible. "I'll believe for a pleasant 90 minutes that time travel is possible because... Flux Capacitor!" Now people choose presidents and senators through suspended disbelief.

BKT said...

I have already seen this ad shared on Fascebook by one of my devout Southern Baptist cousins. This is a Gen-X guy who has faithfully (pun intended) voted for a Republican in every election he's ever participated in.

I think there are a fair number of evangelicals out there who flat-out can't handle the idea of casting a vote for Trump, and that's going to doom him. Without the white Christian voter bloc, there's very little else for Republicans to rely on in a national election.

Never Ben Better said...

Yastreblyansky, some Googling around found this story, which suggests the tweet you linked to might have been in response to an earlier Clinton ad, "Who We Are", rather than the "Grace" video:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3637635/Trump-makes-embarrassing-Twitter-blunder-trying-attack-Clinton-new-campaign-advert-slams-billionaire-businessman-mocking-disabled-reporter.html

Either way, these attacks are clearly bugging him.

And by the way, titling the ad "Grace" is just frikkin PERFECT, isn't it?

aimai said...

Grace is the name of the little girl, isn't it? the entire thing is sheer genius. One of the best political ads, in a crucial category (that is: crucial moment and aimed at a crucial portion of the electorate) I've ever seen.

I'd also like to point out that the other Hillary ads perfectly turn her "disability"--i.e. that she is an older woman, a grandma !!!, into an enormous strength. She is shown over and over again looking like an in control older professor and a loving grandmother. The Republicans really think people won't trust an older woman, won't vote for an older woman--but older women have lots of social capital and clout within certain communities and with voters. She is going to upend the old tropes Dems= feminine and Republicans =Masculine by combining both masculine and feminine traits (the steely SOS, the hugging Grandma) while Trump, like some laboratory screw up, simply offers nothing but toxic masculinity.

Never Ben Better said...

Yes, aimai, Grace the child,* by the grace of God living a happy life despite her disabilities. Her gracefully thoughtful fellow students** cherish her, while a graceless adult offers only graceless cruelty. The resonances in that short ad are amazingly powerful.

Perfect perfect perfect.



*"Suffer the little children to come unto me...."

*"...and a little child shall lead them...."

I was raised Congregationalist, an atheist since my teens, but I recall enough of my New England whitebread Protestant Christian upbringing to have a sense of how this will grab committed Christians whose religion takes "Love thy neighbor" seriously.

Yastreblyansky said...

@NeverBen yeah, I think you're right. On all points of course.

Sweet Sue said...

It's killer.

Never Ben Better said...

I've sent a link to the video to a dear friend, a deeply religious person who's about as close to an earthly (and hella earthy!) saint as I'll ever meet, who for many years has taken in special needs foster children -- the physically and mentally crippled, abused, children who have thrived and grown strong and healthy in her care. She's an Obama fan surrounded by possible-to-likely Trump voters who respect her tremendously (and a number of whom call her mom), and who are equally as passionate about kindness to the weak and crippled. It'll be interesting to see if that changes some minds among them.

For most every disabled person out there, there's a circle of family and friends who'd be incensed to see their dear one dissed like that. I think this is gonna leave a mark all right.

BottyGuy said...

They are running this pretty regularly on the morning news in Raleigh. I've seen it on YouTube before, but it is pretty jarring when you see it between local news segments. This is an order of magnitude harder hitting than any of the ads against Renee Elmers.

John Taylor said...

You have to be made of stone for this not to get to you. Very powerful ad.