Opinion writer


Top Democrats are launching a new, $500,000 ad campaign today aimed specifically at winning over millennial voters and women in presidential swing states, and the chief weapon used in the spots is this: Donald Trump’s own words about abortion, immigrants, wages, and climate change.

The new ads — which were provided to this blog in advance of their release — are being launched by the pro-Clinton Super PAC Priorities USA, and combine footage of Trump with animation and a “WTF” theme, which suggest a particular focus on young voters. They are digital spots, and will run on Facebook, Instagram, Pandora, and Pre-Roll in Ohio, Virginia, Florida, New Hampshire, Colorado, Nevada, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and New Hampshire. Here they are:

— The first ad, called “Chauvinist,” shows footage of Trump saying: “When I come home, if dinner is not ready, I go through the roof.” It then asks: “A chauvinist for president? WTF? Not in our America!”

— The second ad, called “Choice,” shows footage of Trump saying “there has to be some form of punishment” for abortion. It then asks: “Punishment for women? WTF? Not in our America!”

— The third ad, called “Deportation Force,” shows footage of Trump saying that there will be a “deportation force” to carry out mass removals. It then asks: “A deportation force? WTF? Not in our America!”

— The fourth ad, called “Climate Change,” shows footage of Trump saying: “Global warming? A lot of it’s a hoax.” It then asks: “Climate change — a hoax? WTF? Not in our America!”

— The fifth ad, called “Minimum Wage,” shows footage of Trump saying: “Having a low minimum wage is not a bad thing for this country.” It then asks: “Since when are low wages a good thing? WTF? Not in our America”

— The sixth ad, called “Education,” shows footage of Trump saying: “We’re going to cut the Department of Education.” It then asks: “Cut the Department of Education? And Pell grants? WTF? Not in our America!”

Justin Barasky, a spokesman for Priorities USA, tells me that all this signals that Dems will make major investments in targeting millennials in coming weeks and months. This is interesting in the context of Bernie Sanders’s expected endorsement of Hillary Clinton today, which could also help drive young voters to get behind Clinton. It’s notable that highlighting Trump’s stance on specific issues — and not just his awful quotes — is seen as the way to reach these voters. The focus on climate in particular as a motivator of millennials is an underappreciated facet of this election.

Beyond this, the ads — which were launched in conjunction with other groups, such as Planned Parenthood, the League of Conservation Voters, the Latino Victory Fund, and EMILY’s List — also once again reveal two core assumptions driving Dem strategy against Trump. First, Dems believe that one of the most potent tools for generating enthusiasm among key Dem constituencies, and key swing constituencies such as college educated white women, remains Trump’s rich store of disgusting quotes and ideas. Second, for all of Trump’s widespread media exposure during the last year, Dems remain convinced that many of these voters are still unaware of the full existing range of specific quotes and ideas in all their Trumpian wretchedness. When voters are exposed to them, Dems believe, they will conclude that a Trump presidency could be nothing short of a full blown catastrophe for this country and its future. In other words, Dems are trying to scare the sh-t out of you, and there’s plenty of fodder with which to do it.

While Trump’s antics and utterances have rendered him the most unpopular major party nominee in recent memory, Clinton’s negatives are also quite high, and she is weighed down with a number of vulnerabilities. So Dems still expect the election could be very close. And they see massive investments in energizing core Dem constituencies against Trump — as well as turning key swing constituencies such as independent and suburban women against him — as key to victory.


* HILLARY’S LEAD NARROWS, POLL FINDS: The new NBC News/Survey Monkey Tracking Poll finds that Hillary Clinton’s national lead over Donald Trump has narrowed to three points. Note this:

The email controversy seems to have a meaningful impact on voters’ impressions of the presumptive Democratic nominee as 66 percent of voters now say she is not honest and trustworthy…While it is unclear what lasting impacts the investigation could have on her bid for presidency, the email investigation’s findings do not appear to have moved Clinton’s favorability ratings significanty….This week, amid intense scrutiny, her disapproval rating is now 60 percent — virtually unchanged since two months ago.

So more see her as dishonest, but her favorability ratings have not gotten worse? Keep an eye on the polling averages, which put Clinton up over Trump by five points.

* HOW BERNIE IS FINESSING HIS ENDORSEMENT: With Sanders set to campaign with Clinton today, the Post observes this about how this is all working:

Sanders supporters say the past month has been about ensuring that he can make a credible case that his “revolution” will continue, though perhaps not at the same pace if he were the nominee. He can now promise, they say, that Clinton will carry the torch on key issues he championed during his surprisingly strong bid, including making college tuition free for many families and moving the country closer to universal health care.

Yes, of course. By slow-walking his endorsement and winning concessions along the way, Sanders can now swing his supporters behind her more easily.

 * HOW BERNIE CAN GIVE HILLARY A BOOST: The Los Angeles Times spells it out:

A significant minority of Sanders voters have resisted calls to fall into line behind Clinton…Disaffected Sanders voters, especially men, provide a notable chunk of support for the Libertarian nominee….If a Sanders endorsement brings more of those voters over to Clinton’s side, her lead over Trump could be expected to grow by another percentage point or two nationally – enough potentially to swing some close-fought states.

Polling from top Dem pollster Stan Greenberg has found the same; in other words, Sanders’s endorsement could make a real difference.

* CLINTON CRUSHING AMONG COLLEGE EDUCATED WHITES: A new Bloomberg Politics/Purple Slice poll finds:

White voters with at least a college degree — a group that represented more than a third of the 2012 electorate — back Clinton over Trump 48 percent to 37 percent….Clinton trails very slightly among college-educated white men, with Trump getting 42 percent and Clinton getting 41 percent. Among white women, Clinton outpaces Trump 54 percent to 33 percent.

The point is that Trump’s awesomely clever white backlash strategy is likely to fail, because even if it wins over blue collar whites, it will probably alienate college educated whites, who look ready to back the Dem nominee for the first time since 1952.

* A PLURALITY APPROVES OF BLACK LIVES MATTER: The new NBC/Survey Monkey poll also finds Americans tilt in favor of Black Lives Matter:

A plurality of registered voters (45 percent) said they approve of the Black Lives Matter movement while 42 percent disapprove of the movement…Just over half of registered voters think racial discrimination against blacks in this country is an extremely or very serious problem.

You’ll be startled to hear that 70 percent of Republicans disapprove of the movement.

* QUOTES OF THE DAY, GOP-NIGHTMARE-CONVENTION EDITION: Politico talks to Republican strategists who are sprinting away from the horror show otherwise known as the GOP convention as fast as they can:

“What’s there to celebrate?” asked Jay Zeidman, a Texas health care executive whose family has been a major benefactor of the Republican Party. “The party has hit rock bottom in terms of leadership.” “I don’t want anything close to the appearance of supporting Trump,” said Jason Roe, a veteran party strategist. “This ship can sink without me as a passenger.”

It’s going to be interesting to see if Trump’s great show even manages high ratings.

* AND GET READY FOR OPEN CARRY OUTSIDE GOP CONVENTION: The New York Times notes a problem looming at the GOP convention in Cleveland:

Ohio’s open-carry laws mean that those who legally own guns can take them into the 1.7-square-mile area where many of the events and protests connected to the Republican convention will be held next week. Beginning Sunday, protesters are expected to flood into the city, with causes ranging from white supremacy to Palestinian rights.

But this just means there will be a lot more “good guys with guns” around, so everything will be just fine.