Donald Trump’s ‘look over there’ media strategy is a trap that keeps Democrats from focusing public attention on his bad policies.
We didn’t hear much about the administration’s secret plan to bypass Congress (and common sense) to give a giant tax break to Wall Street investors, a possible violation of the constitution and a betrayal of the president’s promises to stand up for the little guy. It’s the result of what I call the “Trump Trap.”
- He pledged to clean up the D.C. swamp, but he made it swampier.
- He said he would make health insurance better, but he actually asked a judge to strip it away from people with serious diseases like cancer and diabetes.
- His tax cuts ballooned C.E.O. salaries and stock buybacks, but real wages are still frozen.
.. But you wouldn’t know it from watching the news. That’s because his unnecessary insults and controversies create a constellation of outrages that deflect accountability for his actions.
.. A person you probably don’t remember is Cheryl Lankford, who also spoke at the convention. She lost her husband, Army Command Sgt. Maj. Jonathan Lankford, to a heart attack while he was serving in Iraq. Left alone to raise their son, Ms. Lankford used her survivor benefits to enroll in Trump University, hoping Mr. Trump’s advice could jump start her career. After paying more than $30,000 in tuition, she got no training. Like so many Americans, she thought Mr. Trump could improve her economic future, but he swindled her and thousands of others. Now the swindle is happening on an epic scale.
.. we tried to get out of the way of the negative coverage of Mr. Trump and his outrageous comments about Mr. Khan.
But the result was that people heard his message, not ours. So much so that after the election, some people thought Mrs. Clinton never talked about people’s economic lives. But she did. It just went into the black hole of the Trump Trap.
.. Mr. Trump never attacked Cheryl Lankford or the other people suing Trump University. Instead, he disparaged the Latino judge in the case, so we spent a week talking about how racist he is, not about how he had cheated working people.
.. Mr. Trump will say and do things that demand a response from anyone who values decency and morality. The result is that he decides what gets attention — and he’s not held accountable.
.. Third, we Democrats have to pick fights that highlight Mr. Trump’s malfeasance. When the president seeks to take away health insurance from seniors or people with cancer, we can’t let that go unnoticed.
.. Candidates: Beware the Trump Trap. The president has promised to spend a majority of his time campaigning this fall. He will call you names. He will come at you with outrage after outrage. It will be very tempting to wear this as a badge of honor to reap the rewards of social media attention and campaign donations. You will think he is drowning in backlash. But
Candidates: Beware the Trump Trap. The president has promised to spend a majority of his time campaigning this fall. He will call you names. He will come at you with outrage after outrage. It will be very tempting to wear this as a badge of honor to reap the rewards of social media attention and campaign donations. You will think he is drowning in backlash. But he will really just be making the debate about anything other than his own failings or the lives of the voters you wish to represent. Your vision and motivations will be obscured and vulnerable to subterfuge.
Before you give Mr. Trump more rope, make sure the debate is on your terms, not his.