Tuesday, June 11, 2019


Media critics regularly note that it's bad form for a news organization to reproduce a Donald Trump lie without an immediate refutation, especially in a headline -- it helps spread the disinformation. But Trump doesn't have a monopoly on falsehood. The folks running his campaign may not be liars exactly, but they've mastered the art of injecting their absurd boasts into the discourse -- like this one, which CNN jut retransmitted:
Exclusive: Trump campaign considering putting resources in Oregon
Really? The Trump campaign thinks it has a shot in Oregon? Fortunately, CNN's Dana Bash is skeptical:
The Trump campaign is considering putting resources into Oregon, CNN has learned, a state where Hillary Clinton beat the President by 11 percentage points in 2016.

In fact, Oregon is so blue that it has not voted for a Republican for president since 1984.
Or is she?
But the Trump campaign is flush with cash and is looking for ways to spend its money and time wisely while Democrats duke it out for the chance to run against President Donald Trump.

... the Trump team knows from experience that pushing against the grain can pay off. When they spent money in the Wisconsin and Michigan in 2016 and sent their candidate there, many thought it was a fool's errand, until Trump turned those states red for the first time in a generation.
How likely is this to work? Morning Consult tells us that Trump has a 37% approval rating and a 59% disapproval rating in Oregon right now. In other words, Trump's chances there are slim to none.

But the campaign regularly boasts that it's going to be unstoppable in 2020, and the press is usually even less skeptical than Bash. For example:

(Just to pick one of those states: New Mexico has a Democratic governor who won her election in 2018 by more than 14 points. Both of its senators and all three of its U.S. House members are Democrats. Both houses of its state legislature are more than 60% Democratic. And more than 60% of the state's voters in 2016 chose a presidential candidate other than Trump, who lost to Hillary Clinton by 8 points. Oh, and the state is only 41% white. So no, Trump is not going to win New Mexico in 2020.)

And then there was this, from Axios:
Trump's 2020 plan to target black, Hispanic and suburban female voters

Trump campaign officials have been discussing a digital campaign to boost President Trump’s 2020 support among three key demographic groups: African Americans, Hispanics and suburban women, two sources familiar with the plan tell Axios.

... "We have high confidence that we’ll make great inroads with key voters,” a senior Trump campaign official told Axios.
And this, from The Washington Post:
President Trump and his advisers are launching a behemoth 2020 campaign operation combining his raw populist message from 2016 with a massive data-gathering and get-out-the-vote push aimed at dwarfing any previous presidential reelection effort, according to campaign advisers, White House aides, Republican officials and others briefed on the emerging strategy.

Trump’s advisers also believe the Democratic Party’s recent shift to the left on a host of issues, from the push for Medicare-for-all to a proposed Green New Deal, will help the president and other Republicans focus on a Trumpian message of strong economic growth, nationalist border restrictions and “America First” trade policies. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan will become, in signs and rally chants, “Keep America Great!”
Look, these guys might turn out to be the '27 Yankees of campaigning. They might win a state or two we'd never expect them to win. (I don't rule out Minnesota.)

But they're out there boasting every week, and every time they boast, it's a feature story. Why is this appropriate? The Trumpers want people who get their news mostly from online headlines to believe that they're going to be unstoppable. The press should not be helping them to convey that impression.

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